Meet James Gilpin.
He’s a mild-mannered man and dedicated Domino’s Pizza delivery guy in midstate Indiana who had no idea that his next delivery was about go viral and almost become life-changing. His store in Marion got a call from someone at Indiana Wesleyan University for two pepperoni pizzas totaling $12.50. No reason to think this order was going to be any different, but little did he know that James was going to be the living lesson portion of today’s sermon in chapel.
Keith Newman, CEO of Residential Education, wanted to physically involve someone in the topic of the day: “Do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone.” Newman said he heard a pastor teach that saying and wanted to pass it on to the students — more than 3,000 of them sitting in chapel, and waiting for some pizza.
Or, at least, that’s what the Domino’s guy thought.
“When I do any kind of teaching, I try to use stories because that’s the way I learn. I think stories are great, but if you can show somebody a story, it’s even more powerful,” Newman told ABC News. “And if you can involve them in the story, it’s even more powerful. So we had the chance to act out a story.”
The act was blessing Gilpin. When he got to the university, he was invited inside the chapel and asked to come on stage with Newman. Little did he know, but every student wrote this stranger a note of support and encouragement, and then they took up an offering for him.
“They pulled me out on stage, and the gentleman started talking to me for a couple minutes and then he announced that he had $1,248.86 for me. Everybody was cheering,” Gilpin told ABC News. “At the time I didn’t know what to think; it didn’t sink in until about two hours afterwards.”
After he was able to collect his emotions, Gilpin shared that Christmas was going to be much happier for his two children, ages five and six. He’s also going to fix the pizza mobile with some of that money too.
“I thought it was very nice for an average Joe like me to get something like that. They didn’t know me from me Adam, and they just picked me out random and handed me the money. It was really nice,” Gilpin said. “It’s nice to know that there’s a lot of encouragement from Indiana Wesleyan and their students to do something like that. It couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m very grateful for what they’ve done for me.”