I'd like to welcome back a good Twitter friend of mine, AjaTheFairy, for a guest blog. Y'all might recall my own history with going inside people's homes: I very very rarely did it (and for damned good reason). In fact I can count the number of times on my fingers: little old lady who called me mamushka, huge parties where I was carrying more pizzas than I could reasonably handle and still take payment at the same time, schools, churches, etc. I personally would never do most of the things she is willing to do. Other delivery people, would you? [-PizzaGirl]
In my job as a pizza delivery driver I often have to give special attention to some customers. There once was an elderly woman who ordered $40 worth of food at 10 p.m. and asked if I would stop and buy her some milk. She didn’t need the food, just the milk (and also someone to show her how the TV works). Another elderly woman orders food regularly and has me put it on a plate, grab a coke out of her refrigerator and literally serve her dinner (and she has never tipped me one time).
Eight months ago, I started delivering to a man with cerebral palsy. I don’t know his name, but we’ll call him Bob. He has one big arm and one little arm and cannot take the food from me at the door. I have to bring the order inside his house and set it down. The first couple of deliveries, I was asked to set the food down on a little table right inside the door. He tipped me $3 each time. Soon Bob started asking me to come in and set his order on a table in the dining room or the kitchen, for which I received a $5 tip. He obviously can’t cook and orders a few days worth of food at a time. I got used to seeing him twice a week.
On my birthday, I wore a money bouquet with birthday wishes from everyone. It was a good way to let my customers know it was my birthday and it really worked in raising my average tip. When I arrived at Bob’s house on my birthday he noticed my birthday badge and felt it was the perfect excuse to grab me with his good arm and hold me close to him while he kissed me on the cheek. For this crossing of personal boundaries I received $10. Things went back to usual after that except my regular tip was now $7.
In July, I let Bob know that I gave my manager two weeks notice because I was moving across the street to a different pizza chain. He asked me if I would change my mind and reconsider staying. Bob said he didn’t like the food from my new company and he would miss me. I won’t say that he cried, but he did get all choked up. Again, he used this as an excuse to hug me and kiss me on the cheek.
Since I started my new job about a month ago, Bob has ordered from my store three times. I was never assigned the delivery and each driver who took the order came back with reports of Bob asking about me.
Last Saturday, I took my dad’s van to work because my car has a bald tire. I was assigned a delivery located in a dingy apartment complex on the other side of town. The apartment was on the second floor of a building that isn’t near a parking lot, but faces an alley that serves as a fire lane. The alley is at the very back of the complex and it is illegal to park there, so there are never any cars back there. Of course I parked there because it was right in front of the apartment I needed to get to, and pizza delivery drivers love to park in fire lanes. We do it every chance we get.
I noticed a car pull into the alley as I was getting out of the van but I didn’t pay it any special attention. It wasn’t until I had delivered the pizza and was walking back down the stairs that I noticed the car had stopped and parked right behind me. As I got closer, there was a honk and a wave from a little arm and I knew it was Bob. I was shocked! We were far away from his ritzy part of town and how could he possibly know I was in that van?! He’s never seen me in a van and I was sure he wouldn’t have any friends at this flea bag apartment complex.
“Hey! You need to give me your number!” he yelled as I approached.
I replied, “Why do you need my number? I am engaged, you know.”
“So I can call you and make sure you are working before I order,” he said.
I know most of you are hoping that I didn’t give him my number because that would be stupid. Yes, I did. I did it to keep getting the tip. I gave him my number and told him he could request me as his driver. Yes, I am a pizza whore. I didn’t let him pull me in for that kiss on the cheek though. He tried to pull me in but I turned it into a funny handshake and told him I had to get back to the store.
It is obvious to me that Bob, who lives close to my store, watched me get in the van and followed me 8.3 miles to my delivery waiting for the chance to talk to me. He hasn’t used my number yet, but I am a little disappointed in myself that I gave it to him. I should have told him to just call the store and ask for me when he was ready to order. Although I am creeped out, I don’t believe I have any reason to be frightened by this man. Bob doesn’t seem violent or sinister, just extremely lonely.