Strangers Raise Thousands to Help Pizza Guy Replace Stolen Car

Last week, pizza delivery driver Steve Walker's car was stolen while he was delivering an order, and he couldn't afford to replace it. But one witness to the crime decided to ask the community to help out—and people all over the world have contributed thousands of dollars to his fund.

Last week, as pizza delivery driver Steve Walker was heading to an apartment building in a Chicago neighborhood with an order to deliver, he was robbed and brutally beaten by two men, who dragged him across the asphalt of the road. Walker was left with severe contusions and road rash, and, even worse, his car was stolen and totaled. His auto insurance policy didn’t cover theft, and he couldn’t afford to buy a new one.

Walker had worked for Papa John’s pizza for 16 years, and relied on his car to do his job. Without a working car, he would have no way to support himself. Luckily, Omar Gutierrez, a Good Samaritan who happened to see the assault and theft, stepped in to help him out.

After Gutierrez went to the police station to give his eyewitness account of the crime, he spent quite a bit of time talking to Walker.

“I can say I got to know him and he is a good, honest guy,” he wrote on his blog. “I believe people like him deserve to be helped in times of need. He works in our community and delivers pizza in our block all the time. Let’s show him we care!”

Gutierrez asked his friends and neighbors to donate money to help Walker pay for a new car, which would cost $2,000. He didn’t expect that the community would come up with the full amount, but he hoped that they might be able to give Walker a good start. But to his surprise, the donations started to pour in—first from his friends and neighbors, but soon, from people all around the world who had heard Walker’s story. Papa John’s Pizza decided to chip in as well, with a combined $2,500 contribution from the local franchise and the national headquarters.

Altogether, as of yesterday, Gutierrez’ PayPal account to support Walker had raised a grand total of $14,729.90. The PayPal account is now closed, but well-wishers are still welcome to contribute to Walker’s cause by check.

Walker’s story has also won the support of pizza delivery drivers everywhere. “A lot of delivery guys have written me saying, ‘Thank you for what you are doing for us,’ ” Gutierrez told the Chicago Tribune, adding that “I would like to tell people to tip well.”

Gutierrez and Walker are both thrilled by the outpouring of money, support, and kind words from the global community. As a small thank you, Gutierrez invited all of the local donors to his house last night for—what else?—a pizza party.

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