Pizza delivery employees help to rescue their longtime customer

Pizza delivery employees help to rescue their longtime customer
PHOTO: The New Paper

Stories about loyal customers and the fast food chains or restaurants they frequent are no longer unusual to us, but this one is rather unique.

Adrian Van Nieuwland was one such regular at Hungry Howie's, a pizza delivery place in the US.

He's been making the same order to the store for years - a three cheeser pleaser with butter cheese crust.

Whenever that particular order was received, everybody at Hungry Howie's knew that it had to have come from Van Nieuwland.

However, nearing the end of May, their loyal customer had stopped calling.

The employees began to get worried about him and tried getting in touch over the phone, but weren't able to get a reply.

Normally, a pizza delivery place would simply assume their customer was away on holiday or had decided on a change of lifestyle, but such was Van Nieuwland's loyalty to his three cheeser pleaser that the employees were positive that something had happened to their favourite customer.

It was fortunate, therefore, that the Hungry Howie employees acted on their intuition and decided to go to his house and contact him.

"They went to his house to check on him and found him laying on the floor. And they weren't sure how long he'd been down there," Hungry Howie's driver Gabbe Raqib told Fox17.

Van Nieuwland was quickly brought to a hospital and seemed to be on the road to recovery with the employees even visiting him the night he was admitted.

"We went the night he went to the hospital, we went there a few hours after he got admitted," said Amanda Ortiz, the assistant general manager.

"He seemed to be doing great. We joked around. I gave him the gift card and said 'you're probably hungry.'"

It's more than pizza to us because our customers are our family. That's our family.

Amanda Ortiz, Assistand General Manager

Unfortunately, Van Nieuwland died after 8 days in the hospital, according to his family members.

The family also told Fox17 that Van Nieuwland slipped into a coma in the hospital and was surrounded by his family members as he passed away.

When interviewed, the employees of Hungry Howie's said they were sad that they had lost their regular customer but were glad they managed to find him before he died, ensuring he could spend his last days with his family.

"It's more than pizza to us because our customers are our family. That's our family," said Ortiz.

nicchew@sph.com.sg

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