Anyone who’s ever worked in the food industry knows that tips are everything.
Jeff Louis, a pizza delivery driver from Ohio, knows it better than anybody.
On a Sunday morning in November of 2015, Jeff was called into work early to make a delivery to Life Point Church in Mentor, Ohio.
He picked up the eight pizzas at the store where he works, then drove to the church to deliver them.
When he arrived, “the most amazing thing happened.”
The then-22-year-old was instructed to bring only one of the pizzas up to the pastor on stage.
Not your average delivery.
“This whole church came up,” he said, pausing to hold back tears in a video that quickly went viral, “and gave me over $700 for a tip.”
Unbeknownst to the congregation, Jeff desperately needed the tip. But more importantly he needed the encouragement of hope that accompanied it.
“It’s just truly amazing you know. I’ve been having such a hard time lately, just struggling to stay clean and everything, and I’m just trying to get my life back, and it just really, truly just amazes me that people that don’t even know me just wanted to help me out that much.”
Life Point’s pastor, Ken Wright, told ABC News that the generous tip was completely spontaneous.
He explained that after having a record month of giving within the church, Ken had “predetermined” that whoever delivered the pizza after service that day would get $100.
“Then I asked the congregation if anyone else wanted to tip, and people just started lining up, one right after the other, and he just started to break down,” Wright said. “The total was over $700.”
The pastor later reached out to Jeff and found out he’d been struggling with addiction for some time. Though the pizza driver had sought help after his chronic pain led to an addiction to pain killers, he’d recently relapsed just before receiving the generous tip.
The $700 surprise restored hope in him that “wasn’t just about the money.”
“I don’t think that tip was just a coincidence,” Jeff’s father, Jim Louis, said. “I think it was meant to happen.”
As Jeff’s emotional video from his car, and the story behind the pizza driver’s unexpected tip, made its way around the Internet, generosity continued to grow.
Cliffside Malibu, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in California, reached out to Jeff and offered free rehabilitation services to help the pizza driver get clean for good.
Jeff says he feels so “blessed” and “grateful” for the overwhelming love and support that started with the unexpected tip.
Our continued prayers for his journey and recovery.