Derlin Newey's story may have warmed the hearts of some who watched it, but it certainly, in the greater context of the world, is really depressing that it was necessary in the first place.
Newey is an 89-year-old pizza delivery employee of Papa John's Pizza forced into working for the company because he could not afford his bills on social security alone. At 89, Newey has been working 30 hours a week and, after seeing his story, TikTokers got together to raise money for the man.
He was surprised with a $12,000 tip upon a pizza delivery to the home of Carlos Valdez, who helped get Newey's name out on TikTok in the first place.
Couple surprises 89-year-old delivery man with $12k tip www.youtube.com
While it's nice how strangers helped Newey, people are upset because he should never have been in this position to begin with.
That an 89-year-old has to deliver pizza to pay his bills (by his own account) should cause us great shame. I’m s… https://t.co/de293mqOjm— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@Yashar Ali 🐘) 1600967786.0
@yashar My mom is going to 70 this December and she works full time at Walmart because her SS isn't enough to live… https://t.co/gwHcRJH17k— Debra Raab 🐰 (@Debra Raab 🐰) 1600967957.0
@yashar That’s not surprising at all to folks that have worked in the social safety net programs in the us.— Howardj (@Howardj) 1600967887.0
@yashar My dad was laid off in his 50s from a decent mid manager job for a national company when the tech bubble po… https://t.co/nRZzPsa1dz— Chappy (@Chappy) 1600980803.0
@yashar Every hour of every day I thank Gaia for being born in Canada. We worry so much for you, American folks. 😞— Nathalie Plum (@Nathalie Plum) 1600973538.0
Some are hailing the "feel-good" presentation of this news as symptomatic of a deeply broken system, which values single-use heroism but not universal support for its citizens.
A very US genre of feel-good news that actually makes you feel worse: desperate person relies on personal kindness… https://t.co/9GAN72OLcZ— Don Moynihan (@Don Moynihan) 1600969491.0
Confused whether this genre of story is intended to normalize a failed safety net or subversively expose it.… https://t.co/X9VlkfHVlK— Don Moynihan (@Don Moynihan) 1600969737.0
@donmoyn @Jake_Hanrahan Appalling. There is no philanthropy in tips & food banks. Those same philanthropists enable… https://t.co/5g4QczqCR9— s (@s) 1601013285.0
@donmoyn @SkylarJordan A cousin of the genre "armed agents of the state pull over motorists but instead of this bei… https://t.co/T1niMJ4PQ0— Oliver Burkeman (@Oliver Burkeman) 1600969943.0
@donmoyn Thank you for putting this so well - as an American living in Denmark these stories, and the glossy sheen… https://t.co/z4mXnwEKBw— Emily Cochran Bech (@Emily Cochran Bech) 1600978745.0
Older Americans have trouble affording their bills almost universally, and specifically their healthcare.
Programs like Social Security and Medicaid are meant to negate some of these costs, but clearly are not working adequately.
It’s like all those “feel good” stories about homeless sick people getting all their medication covered and having… https://t.co/3IcLFbD0TS— Laura K. Curtis (@Laura K. Curtis) 1600990849.0
@laurakcurtis This is not a feel-good story. It's a dystopian.— Heather (@Heather) 1600994126.0
@laurakcurtis Or when everyone pools their vacation days so their coworker can take off two months for cancer treatment.— steve (@steve) 1600991116.0
@laurakcurtis It's not just Dystopian. It's the state of America today. We are broken.— Manesa Jones (@Manesa Jones) 1601040167.0
local news loves to say you’ll be working in your 80s and 90s bc the government doesn’t care ❤️ https://t.co/uVx46bjIeH— David Mack (@David Mack) 1600965060.0
With the election coming up, this is just one of many issues the country will need to address in order to make progress.
For the Derlin Neweys out there who can't rely on TikTok as their savior, it's time to act.