When Doug Barlow placed an order from his local Pizza Hut over the weekend, he decided to do something special for the person bringing him his meal. The Tennessee resident spent less than $30 on a medium pizza and an order of wings, but he left out a generous tip worth more than three times the cost of the food — and he also left the driver filled with gratitude.
On Sunday, when William Felks, who has worked for Pizza Hut for a little over a year, pulled up to the house and made a contactless food drop-off at Barlow's doorstep, he had no idea that a big surprise was waiting for him at the door.
Shortly after Barlow, who lives in Sumner County, had submitted his order, he had jotted down a thank you note and left $100 in an envelope outside.
Felks completed the order, picked up the unassuming envelope and started to walk away. But, as security camera footage shows, he paused before getting back into his car, then suddenly turned around and starts staring at the house as he processes what he found inside the envelope.
Barlow, who works as a measurement tech, said he was happy he got to witness Felks' realization.
"It was very heartwarming to see his reaction, he really did appreciate it. He saw my little note I left him letting him know that the tip was not a mistake, and for him to enjoy it," he told TODAY Food.
Felks was so grateful for the kind gesture that he called Barlow to thank him while he was on his way back to the Pizza Hut.
"It made my week," the delivery driver told TODAY.
Barlow said he was just happy he was able to make someone else smile.
"I just feel in these times with everything that is going on, people are struggling. I’m fortunate to still be working, so why not make somebody's day?" he said.
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When the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in mid-March, demand for food delivery services skyrocketed as restaurants closed their doors and people were ordered to stay at home. Many companies like Pizza Hut began implementing contactless delivery options. A Pizza Hut spokesperson told TODAY that the chain has completed over 16 million contactless digital orders across the country since March.
Barlow added that he feels fortunate to have been able to recognize one of the pandemic's everyday heroes with his gesture. He also shared a message for other customers who have found themselves ordering food delivery more often these days.
"It only takes a nice gesture of kindness to make someone feel good," he said. "You just don’t know what they might be going through at this time."