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Pizza delivery driver gets tip of a lifetime

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    MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) — It’s a story that’s sure to lift the spirits. A delivery driver for Hungry Howie’s Pizza in Mobile got the surprise of his life. After dropping off a pizza delivery, his customer gave him an envelope. Inside were two checks totaling more than $1,000.

Richard Johnston has been working two jobs after moving to Mobile six months ago. He works for All Phase Roofing and Construction by day and delivers pizza for Hungry Howie’s at night. He’s been putting money aside to get his teeth replaced which were broken during a fall last year. Every time he’s gotten close to his goal, another need came up and the money was spent.

“I’ve been so gun-shy because I haven’t had teeth,” Johnston said. “Even when I’m delivering pizza, I’ll be real nice to somebody but I’m subconscious about smiling because I just don’t have teeth and they paid for my teeth.”

When Richard made a delivery two weeks ago, he expressed gratitude for the modest tip he was given and told the customer his story. Well, a post and appeal to Facebook friends rallied the troops and the rest is history.

That customer, Carmen Cotter ordered another pizza last week in the hopes that Richard would once again be the delivery man. The camera was rolling when he knocked and was invited in for the surprise. Not only did Cotter tell him to keep the change for the pizza but handed him an envelope.

“So, like forty to fifty strangers on Facebook pitched in and wanted to donate to you,” Cotter is heard saying as she hands Johnston the envelope.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m going to get my teeth,” Johnston replied as tears began to flow down his face.

The, he opened the envelope and couldn’t believe what he saw. Two cashiers’ checks, totaling $1,317 were inside the envelope. Now, Johnston will get a part of his life back he’s missed dearly.

“You know, when you smile, it makes somebody else smile. Smiles make people feel better and I’ve always smiled all my life until I had this accident and lost my teeth, but a smile puts sunshine in people’s day,” said Johnston. “I know it does for me, so I try and do it for somebody else.”

Cotter said she was touched by Richard’s struggles and understands that tips make all the difference in the lives of delivery drivers. She hopes the gesture not only puts a beautiful smile back on his face but more importantly, motivates others to do what they can to help neighbors in need.

“You don’t have to have a bold, outgoing personality. It doesn’t take much to change someone’s life and just small gestures like that can cause such a big impact so I hope someone else out these is inspired by what my Facebook friends did and that they will pay it forward and help to change someone else’s life,” Cotter said.

The video Cotter posted on her Facebook page has been viewed thousands of times and shared more than 800 times, spreading the spirit of giving. There’s more good news. Thanks to the generous donation, Richard Johnston has already made an appointment to begin work on his teeth and hopes to have a full smile back by mid-December.

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