A rich boy mocks an old pizza deliveryman who falls down the slippery stairs while delivering an order. Little did the teen guess his angry father was watching everything from behind, hatching a punishment that would rock the entitled boy’s world.
With a weathered face and sunken eyes full of hope, 81-year-old Barney walked into the pizzeria, donning his delivery uniform and cap. He wiped the beads of early morning sweat off his face, wearing an immaculate smile flickering from ear to ear.
Spirited and strong for a man in his twilight years, Barney would roam the streets every day, delivering piping hot pizzas to customers. But this was not just any ordinary job for Barney — It was his only hope of giving his orphaned grandson Tommy a promising future..
Barney didn’t mind being the odd one out at his workplace. All other men and women who worked there were young and vibrant, except for Barney. He was the oldest employee and seemed like a misfit, but he was not going to give up, as this job was the groundwork for his grandson’s future.
The doting grandpa knew his days were numbered, and he was determined to make the most of the time God gave him. And so, he arrived at the pizzeria on time with a sense of hope every morning and carried assigned orders to his old Mustang to earn every penny he could.
“You dirty oldie! Get outta ma sight… I’ll report you to your boss and make sure you’re fired today… clean up this mess and get out!”
But that day, everything changed as Barney set out to make a routine delivery to an affluent district quite far from where he worked. It was a huge order, and the thought of making a handsome tip twinkled in Barney’s eyes as he stacked the pizza boxes on the backseat and hopped into the car.
An inviting aroma of the hot pepperoni and BBQ chicken pizzas emanated from the boxes, and Barney could feel his tummy growl with hunger. He had only eaten one slice of butter toast for breakfast before leaving for work. But would that be enough—especially on a cold, frosty day like that one?
Well, this was Barney… each minute mattered to him, and he always left for work early so he would be assigned more deliveries and make more money.
Barney had always been a hardworking man from a young age, thanks to his difficult upbringing. He started breaking the sweat at 14 when he took up the responsibility of feeding his four orphaned siblings. From that time, Barney never knew what easy money was and continued to work hard.
When life seemed like a smooth sail on the tides, Barney lost two most beloved people of his life. First, his wife, and then years later, his only daughter, who left behind her 6-year-old son in his hands.
Barney was shattered, and his grandson Tommy motivated him like the brightest ray of sunshine bursting through a dark cloud.
Tommy, who was now 9, was everything to Barney. He was a bright, talented young boy with a promising future ahead of him, and Barney was hellbent on making sure that nothing stood in his grandson’s way. But with a low pension and insufficient resources, he knew it would be hard to provide for Tommy the way he deserved and dreamed.
And so, Barney did something he never imagined he would even think of doing at 81 — he applied for a job as soon as he saw a ‘We are hiring!’ signboard outside a local pizzeria.
He was nervous when he attended the interview as he was surrounded by young boys and girls applying for the same position.
Maybe it was God’s will… Barney was hired as the pizzeria’s oldest employee!
But being a pizza deliveryman at 81 was not easy. It was exhausting because Barney had to go up and down to different addresses on hot, cold, and rainy days, door-delivering pizzas to customers awaiting them in the comfort of their homes. Even the pay was not that great.
However, Barney was fueled by the thought that every box of pizza he delivered was money and one step closer to giving his grandson a better life.
Sometimes, it hurt Barney when some customers he door-delivered wouldn’t even greet him with a smile. Some would even slam the door in his face after collecting their order, and some would still treat him with a tip with a cold ‘Hey-keep-the-change!’ before turning their backs on him. Barney was only this much in their eyes. He was just an ordinary old pizza deliveryman!
It was a painful truth that Barney took to his heart, and he didn’t want his grandson to be treated similarly. Moreover, he wanted the boy to learn that only hard work and determination can measure success.
With the thoughts about his past and grandson’s future flashing before his eyes, Barney drove to the address that morning.
The cold winter air froze everything on its path, and the wind howled like a wounded beast, tearing through the spruces as Barney struggled to see ahead. Then suddenly, his old Mustang broke down in the middle of nowhere.
“Oh no… how will I get there on time? The customer will be mad at me….” Barney’s heart sank as his car sputtered and stopped in the middle of the icy road.
Poor Barney! He’d been looking forward to delivering this order on time to the customer in the far-off district. It was his golden chance to prove that he was devoted to his work even in this cold weather when most of Manhattan’s senior citizens were cozy and warm, sipping hot tea in their homes.
But now, Barney’s hard work in grabbing this order seemed like a waste as he stepped down from his car in the freezing cold, alone and helpless.
His shaky hands almost gave up when he opened the bonnet to check the engine. Meanwhile, his phone kept ringing with angry calls from the customer.
“How long are you gonna take? I’m hungry….” the voice on the other end of the call exploded as soon as Barney answered.
You can buy materialistic pleasures with money, but you cannot buy love and respect.
“I’m sorry, sir. I’m on the way. I’ll be there in five minutes,” said Barney. He had lied, but did he have a choice?
And ten minutes later, Barney found himself still stranded on the road, and the customer started calling him again.
Barney was so nervous with each second that ticked by. He looked around for help, but there was nobody as far as his eyes could see. He was so helpless, with no hope of getting the order delivered in time.
“Jesus, please don’t do this to me…” just as Barney broke down into tears, praying for a miracle, a kind stranger in a car pulled up beside him.
“Hey, what happened? Why are ya standing out in the cold?” the man asked Barney.
“Somethin’s wrong with the engine. I don’t know how to fix it,” said Barney, sounding helpless and beaten.
“Alright! Let me take a look!” the driver stepped down from his car, braving the icy road to help Barney start his car.
Barney’s prayers were answered in minutes when he turned on the ignition key, and his car roared with a screeching start! The miracle gave him a chance to finally deliver the pizzas to the client and earn his tip. Barney sped away, thanking the kind stranger with a wave and tears of joy.
With a deep sense of hope and relief, Barney finally arrived at the address. His heart raced at seeing the angry client, a teenage boy named Fabian, on the doorstep.
“What took you so long, oldie?” Fabian yelled.
Barney observed the teen’s anger and realized he wouldn’t get any tip. He was okay with that and thanked God that he was at least able to deliver the pizzas to the client.
Just as Barney made his way up the porch with the pizza boxes, he slipped on the icy stairs and fell down on the concrete, hurting his leg. And the 15 boxes of pizza he was holding scattered on the ground.
“You old crock! How did they hire you? You good for nothin’ fool,” Fabian mocked Barney as he struggled to rise on his feet.
To make things worse, Fabian’s friends ganged up laughing, cruelly taunting poor Barney every time he tried to stand. Barney realized he’d broken more than his spirit and strength. He’d broken his leg due to the severe fall.
How could he be so clumsy and not notice the stairs were slippery in his rush to make a timely delivery? Was work more important than his well-being? No! His grandson Tommy was, and that’s why this poor man was basking in the insults of these rich, entitled boys.
“You dirty oldie! Get outta ma sight… I’ll report you to your boss and make sure you’re fired today… clean up this mess and get out!” Fabian’s taunt kept ringing in Barney’s head as he lay helpless on the icy ground, crying.
Suddenly, the boy saw his friends bolting in different directions, making their way out of the gate. He didn’t understand what was going on.
“Guys? Where you goin’… hey! Come back!”
“Ahem!” an angry voice startled him from behind. Fabian’s eyes widened with alarm, and he froze still when he recognized it was his dad’s voice.
“The party is over! Everyone, out… and Fabian, stay right here!” his dad Albert fumed, turning the party into a nightmare.
Fabian was beyond shocked as he’d thrown a party at home when he was supposed to be preparing for his exams.
“B—but dad… I thought you were on a business trip. You left for Paris today morning.”
Albert’s heart pounded, and his blood boiled with anger as he rushed to Barney’s rescue. He could not believe his son would be so cruel toward someone. And to mock an older man and laugh at him was not what Albert had expected of his son, who he raised with love and care after his mom died when he was little.
“Wait until I show you how to respect others… You just wait and watch what I’m gonna do,” Albert fumed at Fabian.
He rang 911 and helped Barney stand up. But the poor old man couldn’t stand for long as he was injured. So Albert gathered the ruined pizza boxes and called the pizzeria to inform them of the accident.
The rich man then accompanied Barney to the hospital in the ambulance, unable to comprehend what could’ve happened if he wasn’t there on time.
“Thank goodness I arrived on time and got things under control,” thought Albert.
As it turned out, he had faked a business trip to teach his son a lesson when he overheard the boy inviting his friends to a party, telling them his dad would be gone on a business trip.
Albert had canceled his flight and sneaked into the house through the backyard to pay a surprise visit that morning to see what the boys were up to, but he never imagined he would find his son insulting a poor older man.
Barney was hospitalized, and he couldn’t help but feel grateful for Albert’s kindness. He was moved as he’d never met any rich person who’d cared so much about a stranger, let alone an old delivery man.
“I’m sorry for what my son did. I’ll do whatever you want. What can I do for you?” Albert held Barney’s hand, feeling ashamed and sorry for his son’s doing.
“I want to stand up on my feet. I have to get back to work because I have to earn money for my grandson’s future. I’m all he’s got, and he’s all I’ve got,” replied Barney, tears gushing into his eyes.
A sharp sting of guilt and sympathy sprang into Albert’s heart when he learned how Barney had been working as a pizza deliveryman at 81 to provide his only grandson with a promising future.
It hurt him to know his own son was totally the opposite—a carefree young boy who took his father’s wealth for granted. Albert couldn’t find a spot to forgive himself for raising a spoiled boy who didn’t know the value of hard work or respecting people.
So when Albert visited Barney again the next day, he had already made an arrangement to teach his overindulged son an unforgettable lesson that would rock his world.
“How are you doing? I just spoke with the doctor, and he said you’ll be discharged in two days! I sent my maid to the address you gave me. She will look after your grandson until you go home, alright?” Albert greeted Barney.
Just then, the nurse entered the ward, holding a prescription of medicines Barney needed.
When the older man saw the cost, he was disheartened.
“I don’t have money to buy everything,” he disappointedly sighed.
“Don’t worry, Barney! The medical bill is on me, alright,” Albert patted Barney’s shoulders.
“Nurse, where’s the pharmacy?”
“I’m sorry, sir. The hospital pharmacy is temporarily closed due to renovation. There’s one down the lane… a kilometer away,” said the nurse.
Albert took out his phone and ordered the medicines from the pharmacy, asking for a specific carrier to deliver the order.
Minutes later, Barney was in for a tear-jerking surprise when a deliveryman walked into the ward.
“Hey! What took you so long?” Albert said, gritting his teeth when a teenager entered the ward in a delivery uniform.
Barney couldn’t believe his eyes when he recognized the boy. It was Fabian, the rich boy who had insulted him and made him cry! He could not believe Albert would go to such an extent to teach his son a lesson.
“You should be kind and responsible to earn a tip,” Albert broke the silence of the ward, staring into his ashamed son’s eyes. “Good job, but you don’t deserve any tips!”
Albert said no more, nor did he stay there after his son left. He was so guilty to face Barney but was a little relieved, hoping this would put his spoiled son on track and mend his behavior.
As for Barney, he was discharged two days later and was swept over by another tear-jerking surprise when he saw Albert waiting for him at his doorstep.
“This is for you! I know it’s no match to your love for your grandson… but you have to accept this, Barney,” said Albert, stashing an envelope with a check in Barney’s hands.
“$75,000?” Barney burst into tears as he couldn’t believe it was happening for real.
As it turned out, the money was Fabian’s college fund. Albert had donated it to help Barney pay for his grandson’s education so he could retire instead of working hard in his old age. Also, it was his token of apology for the emotional scars his son left on the poor older man’s heart.
As for Fabian, there were no more parties and pocket money. His dad seized his expensive car and credit cards and deprived him of the amenities that made him belittle others. Ultimately, Fabian had no choice but to work hard and make his way to college with his own earnings, as his father had threatened to withdraw any form of future help if he failed to meet this condition.
What can we learn from this story?
You can buy materialistic pleasures with money, but you cannot buy love and respect. Fabian was a rich teen who mocked poor Barney when he was late in delivering the pizzas. He called him names and thought he would get away with it, guessing little his dad was right behind him and would soon teach him an unforgettable lesson.
Even when everything appears dark around you, a miraculous sliver of light will appear out of nowhere to give you hope and courage. When Barney was stranded in the middle of nowhere, a kind stranger helped him to fix his dead car engine. Ultimately, Barney was able to make his way to the address to deliver the pizza.
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