Domino’s Pizza employees in Oregon proved why it’s so important not to take workers for granted. They were so in tune with their regular customers that when one of them suddenly stopped ordering, the workers took notice. After 11 days without hearing from the man they are used to delivering to every day, the employees decided to take matters into their own hands. It’s a good thing that they did, because the man’s life depended on it.
A Frequent Domino’s Customer
48-year-old Kirk Alexander was just your average guy, with one extraordinary exception. He loved Domino’s more than most people love their favorite restaurant. He was such a fan of the pizza joint that he couldn’t get enough of it.
That’s why Kirk would order from his local Domino’s almost every day! He would order from the same location every time, so the employees there got to know him. They came to even expect his order.
The Manager Behind The Orders
Sarah Fuller is the general manager of the Domino’s that Kirk would order from, so it was her responsibility to be sure that his expectations were always met. She told Good Morning America that his order would come in around 11 p.m., or sometimes even midnight.
If he didn’t order one day, then the employees knew he would the next day. Kirk seldom went more than two days in a row without getting his Domino’s fix.
Kirk’s Trick To Not Getting Bored Of Pizza
You may be wondering how Kirk could possibly eat Domino’s every day and not tire of the pizza. Like any loyal customer would know, the chain carries a lot more than just pizza.
Sarah explained that Kirk would mix up his order. Sometimes he would get a sandwich, pasta, or chicken wings. Of course, he loved pizza every now and again, too. But the employees couldn’t anticipate exactly what Kirk would get, which kept them on their toes.
A Convenient Way To Order
Though the employees knew Kirk by his name, only the delivery drivers would be able to put a face to his order. That’s because the loyal customer always ordered his meal online. Thanks to Domino’s online ordering system, he didn’t even have to call.
Sarah said that once the online order was placed, it would pop up on their order screen at work. She said, “We see it come across the screen and we’re like, ‘Oh, Kirk’s order.'”
The Delivery Drivers Knew Something Was Off
Since driving to Kirk’s house was a part of their shift nearly every day for the delivery drivers, they were the first to notice that something was wrong. It had been days since the last order from Kirk came through.
They brought this up to Sarah, who decided to look into it. In the middle of the night on a Saturday, the manager pulled up their order records. What she found proved the employees were right to be suspicious.
Kirk Had Inexplicably Stopped Ordering
When Sarah looked into their order history, she discovered that Kirk hadn’t placed an order in 11 days! That’s almost two weeks with no word from a man who typically orders nearly every day.
Sarah told the news reporter, “We knew something wasn’t [right], that wasn’t normal at all.” The manager decided that the best plan of action would be to send an employee to checkup on Kirk. It was better to be safe than sorry.
Kirk’s Regular Delivery Driver Did The Checkup
Sarah asked Kirk’s regular delivery driver, Tracey Hamblen, to do the job. Since Tracey typically worked around the time that Kirk would order his meal, he knew the route to get there well.
Plus, the company had Kirk’s address and phone number in their system. Tracey headed over as though he were making his routine delivery. Only this time, he was empty-handed. The delivery driver arrived at Kirk’s house and headed up to the front door.
Lights Are On But Nobody’s Home
Tracey approached Kirk’s house and noticed right away that something was off. The lights and the television were both on, but no one seemed to be home. When no one answered the door, Tracey called Kirk’s phone to discover that it went straight to voicemail.
The delivery driver officially knew that something had to have been out of place. He trusted his judgment enough to call the police. When the dispatcher asked if he had an emergency, all Tracey could say was, “It could be an emergency.”
When Deputies Arrived, Thing’s Got Stranger
Tracey went on to explain to the dispatcher what had happened. Based on Tracey’s story, the dispatcher decided it was a good idea to have a few deputies check it out.
When the officers arrived, they knocked on the door. That was the point at which everyone started hearing someone call for help inside. They knocked down the door and discovered Kirk on the floor. The paramedics were called and they got him to a hospital.
The Employees Couldn’t Believe It
When the employees caught wind of everything that happened, they couldn’t believe their ears. Sarah told a reporter, “It’s crazy. It wasn’t what I was really expecting would happen at all.” We can only imagine what was going through the employees’ minds.
They are used to having a relatively simple job, not helping people survive! As surreal as it felt, they were incredibly relieved to have taken Kirk’s missing orders so seriously. It goes to show that following your gut can help someone in need.
They See Kirk As Part Of Their Domino’s Family
One reason why the Domino’s crew took Kirk’s missing orders so seriously is that he’s a regular part of their lives. Sarah described him as, “an important customer that’s part of our family here at Domino’s.”
She humbly added, “I think we were just doing our job checking in on someone we know who orders a lot. We felt like we needed to do something.” It’s not every day that customer service workers are so aware of their patrons.
Praise On Social Media
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office posted what happened to their Facebook page. Thousands liked the post and praised the workers who helped. One person wrote, “That’s what you call an establishment that really cares for their regular customers!”
Another person said that they hope the CEO comes to thank the employees in person. A different Facebook user wrote, “What an outstanding act of kindness.” Some even related similar stories where they were the customer in need or the employee offering help.
The Managers Even Visited Kirk In The Hospital
The Domino’s employees touched so many hearts that the story went viral. Several local news stations got in touch with them, and it eventually became national news! Sarah and her assistant manager, Jenny, were invited to talk on Good Morning America.
The ladies not only shared the story, but they also mentioned that they even visited Kirk in the hospital! They went more than once, so they saw his progress firsthand. Though they didn’t share Kirk’s condition for privacy reasons, it’s clear that it was a serious matter.
Surprise Rewards For The Helpful Employees
Good Morning America was so touched by the employees’ heroic act that they decided to gift them with movie tickets to see Captain America: Civil War with their friends. That was only the tip of the iceberg, though.
The morning news host got to inform Jenny and Sarah that Domino’s was also going to send them, along with delivery driver Tracey, to Las Vegas for the company’s worldwide rally! The excited expression on their faces was priceless.
Angela Nguyen Wasn’t Always a Delivery Driver
Living in Anoka County, Minnesota, Angela Nguyen works as a delivery driver for Domino’s. But that’s not the job she’s always had. Before becoming a Domino’s driver, Angela worked for the Minnesota Visiting Nurses.
Angela told The Atlantic, “I did housekeeping for people with AIDS and HIV. Then they closed my department. They offered me another position with hospice, but I had a daughter that died while I was working for Minnesota Visiting Nurses, and it was just too difficult for me to think of going to work with other people that were dying. So I left.”
Her Daughter Worked For Domino’s
After she left the Minnesota Visiting Nurses, Angela began looking for other work. She often took care of her grandchildren and needed to find a job with a flexible schedule. Angela decided that she would apply to be a Domino’s driver, where her daughter Sarah also worked.
Soon, she was in the flow of her new job, which allowed for one of the two women to always be home with the kids, too.
They Had The Same Customers, Including Lee Haase
Angela told The Atlantic, “I would help [Sarah] out quite a bit, watching her children. I got a job at Domino’s and worked opposite hours of her. It was flexible enough for me to watch her kids while she worked and then for her to have her children when I went to work.”
Both of the women delivered pizza around their town in Anoka County, Minnesota. Often times, they would serve the same customers, including Lee Haase.
Lee Was a Regular Customer at Domino’s
One customer that Angela and Sarah could count on hearing from was 76-year-old Lee Haase. A resident of Anoka County, Lee would order pizza from Domino’s every Saturday. Angela told USA Today that his order was like clockwork.
“About 10:15 a.m. you are going to get an order from Lee. He likes to order every Saturday. So at least once a week, Angela or Sarah would pull up to Lee’s trailer with his favorite pizza.
Lee Had a Terrible Year
The year 2015 was incredibly hard on Lee. A series of unfortunate and unpredictable events changed his life entirely. First, his home was damaged in a bad storm. The house needed a lot of work to make it inhabitable again, and Lee didn’t have the savings to do it. So, he was forced to move into a trailer on his property.
Then, tragedy struck when his son was unexpectedly killed in a snowmobile accident. Lee was completely heartbroken and down on his luck. But that didn’t keep him from being kind to others, and optimistic about his own future.
The Trailer Was In Bad Shape
After his house was no longer safe to live in, Lee moved into a trailer on his property in Minnesota. But the trailer wasn’t in good shape either. At 76-years-old, Lee felt that he didn’t have many options. But after seeing where he lived, Domino’s delivery driver Sarah, Angela’s daughter, didn’t feel good about it.
The trailer roof and siding was rusted and deteriorating. The same storm that had destroyed his house had left the trailer in bad shape, and winter was on the horizon.
The Trailer Wasn’t A Good Place for Lee To Live
After Sarah delivered pizza to Lee one day, she went home and told her mom the state of inside. She had discovered that the trailer didn’t have electricity, heat, or plumbing. Although Lee was trying to make the best of the situation, by ordering pizza since he couldn’t make food, Sarah knew he would be in danger once the temperatures dropped and another storm hit.
Angela’s daughter told her what she learned. “I thought, ‘We got to do something. We can’t let a human being live like this.'” Angela explained to USA Today.
Getting To Know Lee
Since they learned of his harsh living conditions, Lee was on the minds of Angela and Sarah. Even though her days of working with the Minnesota Visiting Nurses was over, Angela still had an intuition to help people in need.
Angela told The Atlantic, “[The pizzas are] what [Lee] would live on, on the weekends because he was elderly and couldn’t get Meals on Wheels.” She realized, however, that finding ways to get food was only one of Lee’s problems. Warmth and shelter were also a big problem that needed to be solved. And quickly.
Angela Formed a Friendship With Lee
Lee was a kind older man, and Angela wanted to do whatever she could to help him when she saw him. “I would look forward to delivering to him and just being a little ray of sunshine to him every Saturday morning, saying, ‘How are you doing, Lee?'”
She even went out of her way to make sure he had what he needed. “Sometimes, I would stop at the store and grab him a hot cup of coffee and a doughnut before I’d go there with his pizza.”
Angela Had The Right Attitude
Angela’s empathetic personality wouldn’t stop there, however. She told USA Today, “There’s no way somebody can live like that and be fine. So you just step in, and you do what you got to do.”
Truly going above her call of duty as a Domino’s driver, Angela set-up a GoFundMe page explaining Lee’s story, and asking for help for whoever could make a donation. On the page, Angela included a photo of the dilapidated trailer, with the title, “Not in our community!!!!” Urging people to help their elderly neighbor find a new home.
It Turned Out, Other People Wanted To Help, Too
The GoFundMe page that Angela gained traction as people signed on to donate. Although she initially thought she would get some contributions from her fellow community members, the page reached generous people far beyond their Minnesota town.
“We got donations from as far as Australia!” she told USA Today. Her goal to raise $35,000 was almost entirely met in two months, with around 765 people pitching in a total of $32,000 to help Lee find a safe place to live.
The Next Step
Now that Angela had the donation money, she was ready to take the next step in finding a safe home for Lee. After doing some searching, Angela was able to find a trailer in her local community that was in good condition and would fit Lee’s housing needs.
Once again, generous neighbors in their Minnesota community pitched in and donated furniture to make Lee’s new place move-in ready. The woman who delivered pizzas to Lee’s door was now delivering him a new home!
The Greatest Christmas Gift
Angela was able to secure Lee’s new home just in time for Christmas. Luckily, she was able to raise the funds in two months, so Lee would be moved in before the temperature got colder and the snow would start to fall.
Along with her daughter Sarah and other community members who pitched in to help, they anxiously awaited the moment that they would surprise Lee with his new home.
He Was Speechless
As you can imagine, Lee was completely taken aback by the generosity of Angela and the community. After one of the toughest years in his life, Lee was being given a helping hand to get back on his feet.
Not only did his new home have electricity, heating, and plumbing, but the crew of volunteers made sure that it was clean, stocked with food, and felt like home. They even brought in a Christmas tree!
“I Promised You We Were Going To Help You”
Once they presented Lee with his new home, Sarah gave him a big hug. “You remember when this started, and I promised you we were going to help you?” She asks him, fighting back the tears.
Lee couldn’t believe his eyes and took his time trying to find the right words. “It’s wonderful,” he said. “I’m so grateful for people doing this.” Without family around to help Lee when he needed it, the community stepped up in a big way, and he appreciated every one of them.
Taking The Tour
After the initial shock wore off a bit, and everyone was given a minute to dry their eyes, it was time to give Lee a tour of his new home. Angela, Sarah, and the volunteers made sure that the cabinets were stocked with food and Lee had everything he needed to take care of himself when Meals on Wheels weren’t able to reach him on the weekends.
The home also had a washer and dryer, and a welcoming message in the bedroom that read, “Joy, hope, love, peace, believe.”
Everyone Was Happy To Help
While Lee continued to express his gratitude for all that his new friends had done for him, they made sure to let him know that they wanted to do it. While everyone gathered in the living room with Santa Claus hats, Angela told Lee, “Every single one of us enjoyed doing this.”
She continued, “This ain’t all for Lee. We all benefited.” The effort that Angela and her daughter Sarah put into helping Lee also brought the community together, and allowed others from around the world to help, too.
Lee Is Safe In His New Home
Now that Lee was comfortable and safe in his new home, Angela and Sarah could rest a bit easier knowing their friendly regular customer would be okay through the winter. But of course, their work only inspired them to help others even more.
Seeing the difference that they could make, reaching out to people they met while working as delivery drivers for Domino’s, made them change the way they felt about every customer.
Angela Continues Helping Her Community
Of course, Lee isn’t the only Domino’s customer that Angela met and saw needed some help. After successfully getting Lee moved into his new home, she began to think about the other people she met while working.
“Another customer’s daughter just had surgery for Crohn’s disease and was very, very ill and mother was out of work,” Angela told The Atlantic. So once again, Angela took to GoFundMe to help another member of her community that she met while delivering pizzas.
Always Ready To Help
“I started a GoFundMe for her, and we are getting enough donations that her mother doesn’t have to worry about going back to work right now,” Angela told The Atlantic.
She continued, “[Lee] really stood out for quite some time and doesn’t order for delivery anymore because he’s got a stove and a refrigerator and a microwave.” Now that he’s taken care of, Angela is looking for other people she can help.