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Video: Pizza driver’s special delivery may have saved a life

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    >>> back now at 8:08 with one woman's daily diet of pizza and the fast-thinking delivery driver credited with saving her life. we'll talk to the hero in a moment. first, nbc's ron mott is in memphis with details. ron , good morning.

    >> reporter: hey there, willie. good morning to you. we all pretty much agree pizza is an american staple and it's true for one woman whose loyalty to this shop just delivered -- big time . a pizza a day didn't keep the doctors away but it didn't stop 82-year-old jean wilson from rolling the dice and she probably owes her life to all the pepperoni and cheese every day for three years. so when her order didn't make it to domino's over the weekend her delivery driver smelled trouble. instead of jean's usual pie.

    >> i said, she hasn't called in three days? i have to go. he was like, no, you don't have to do that. i said, yeah, clock me out if that's what you have to do.

    >> reporter: the house call ended with a call to memphis 911.

    >> the pizza lady knocked on the door and wanted to know if i had seen the lady across the street.

    >> he said, maybe she's not home. i said, how many times have you seen her leave? he said, never.

    >> reporter: turned out jean had fallen and couldn't get to the feet. doctors say she'll be fine. as for her future orders, that's a given.

    >> one large pizza, thin crust.

    >> reporter: any way you slice it --

    >> get it there in half an hour or less.

    >> reporter: -- no delivery will be more timely than this one. while the workers say they went the extrale mile for jean because she's so nice to everyone, she appreciate what is they do and they are looking forward to the daily 10:00 phone calls ringing in sometime soon.

    >> great story. ron mott, thank you so much. and the delivery woman susan guy is with us. good morning.

    >> good morning.

    >> you have been delivering a lot of the pizzas over the years to jean. what kind of woman is she?

    >> she's a kind woman. you know, i think she's happy to see us every day. she comes to the door and she appreciates us.

    >> how well did you get to know her on the deliveries?

    >> well, you know, she's not a big talker . but, you know, she lives by herself and i don't think she had a lot of people around. you know, we talked about just general things. nothing in particular. she's just not a big talker , you know.

    >> so you get to work on monday a couple days ago and your boss says we vice president had the call from jean, not just on monday but for the two previous days and you were immediately concerned.

    >> yes. my mother had cancer and twice she fell while she lived with me. i'd come home and she'd been on the floor, like, three hours one time and a couple hours the other time. i knew there was a possibility.

    >> so something's telling you, i need to check on jean wilson . in fact, we heard in the piece where you said to your boss, clock me out if you have to, i'm going. you get to jean's house. what happened next?

    >> i beat on the windows, the door. i'm hollering in there. ms. wilson? i'm listening to hear if she's making sounds. i don't hear anything. so then i start knocking on the neighbors' doors. finally, the gentleman answered the door and he's the one that told me, you know, she's probably gone. of course i was like, i don't think so. every morning. it's been three days. did you see an ambulance?

    >> so you called 911, in fact. and you had to get back to work, but you came back to check and found the paramedics there. what did you see then?

    >> i just saw the paramedics and the police actually -- one police officer was leaving. he stopped me and said, are you susan? i said, yes, sir. he said, well, she's okay. we told her -- she asked because she probably didn't think anyone would call. she asked, who called? they said, domino's, a pizza delivery driver . they said she smiled a big smile.

    >> you have spoken to her in the hospital and she's doing well?

    >> she's doing well. you know, she wants out.

    >> we know domino's is proud of you. they gave us a statement saying as much. they have things in store for you and we know jean wilson is, of course, grateful to you. congratulations, job well done.

    >> thank you, willie.

    >> good to see you. up

TODAY contributor
updated 2/23/2011 10:09:00 AM ET 2011-02-23T15:09:00

Domino’s pizza was the staff of life for Jean Wilson: For three years, every morning the 82-year-old Memphis, Tenn., woman called like clockwork at 10 a.m. for her daily delivery of one large pepperoni pie, along with two Diet Cokes.

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It turned out that daily order may very well have saved her life.

When the local Domino’s didn’t receive her order on Monday, Wilson’s regular delivery driver, Susan Guy, became concerned, knowing from personal experience what it might mean. In much less than the 30 minutes Domino’s famously promises, Guy made a beeline to Wilson’s home and banged on the doors and windows. When she received no response, she called 911.

Paramedics arrived to find Wilson lying on her floor and unable to reach the telephone for help.

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‘I gotta go’
Today Guy is being hailed as a hero — paramedics say Wilson fell on Saturday and could have died if help hadn’t reached her.

On Wednesday, Guy described Wilson to TODAY’s Willie Geist as “a really kind woman; I think she’s happy to see us every day,” and said she immediately sensed something was amiss when Wilson’s regular order didn’t come in. Arriving for her morning shift Monday, Guy was told Wilson hadn’t called in her order for the day — and hadn’t called over the weekend, either.

“I said, ‘She hasn’t called in three days?’ ” Guy told NBC. “I go, ‘I gotta go, I gotta go.’ ”

But Guy’s manager told her, “ ‘Nah, you don’t have to do that,’ ” she related. “And I said, ‘Yeah, I do. Clock me out if that’s what you’ve got to do.’ ”

Guy told Geist she may have been especially attuned to Wilson’s peril from the experience of caring for her own elderly mother before she passed away two years ago.

Image: stretcher
Emergency personnel found 82-year-old Jean Wilson on the floor, unable to reach the phone, and said she could have died if help hadn’t reached her. Wilson is expected to make a full recovery.

“My mother had cancer, and twice she had fallen while she was [living] with me,” Guy said. “I’d come home and she’d have been on the floor — three hours one time, and a couple of hours the other time — so I knew that was a possibility.”

Arriving at Wilson’s home, Guy told Geist she “banged on all the windows, the door — I’m hollering in there, ‘Mrs. Wilson!’ I’m listening to hear if she’s trying to make some sounds. I don’t hear anything. So then I started knocking on all the neighbors’ doors.”

Guy talked to a neighbor, who guessed Wilson was out. “I said, ‘Well, not home? How many times have you seen her leave home?’ ” Guy told NBC. “And he goes, ‘Never.’ ”

After calling 911, Guy returned to work at Domino’s. When she returned to Wilson’s home a short time later, she told Geist, “I saw the paramedics, and one of the police officers was leaving, and he stopped and said, “Are you Susan?’ I said, ‘Yes, sir.’ And he’s like, ‘Well, she’s OK.’ ”

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The police officer told Guy that Wilson “probably didn’t think anyone would call. She asked who called, and [we] said, ‘Domino’s, a pizza delivery driver.’ And they said she smiled a really big smile.”

Wilson was found to be disoriented, but is expected to make a full recovery and to be released from the hospital today. Guy told Geist she phoned Wilson’s hospital room after the octogenarian was admitted. “She’s doing well; she wants out,” she reported.

While Guy said she looks forward to resuming her daily deliveries to one of her favorite customers, she’s gained plenty of notice from Domino’s home office. In a statement to TODAY, company spokesman Tim McIntyre said, “We’re all so touched by Susan’s act of kindness and caring. For something so simple (noticing a change in a customer’s ordering and wanting to check it out) to turn into something as magnificent as saving a life — well, how do you put that into words?”

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