INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – We often forget that time is life’s most precious gift. But for the Morgan family, time has never been more important.
“This is a good time for people to really put their arms around each other and squeeze them tightly," said David Dalke, whose son-in-law Rich is in a tough battle with cancer.
Rich and Dalke's daughter Julie have been married for years, and more than 20 years ago the couple lived in Battle Creek, Michigan. There, they fell in love with a local restaurant "Steve's Pizza."
"She talked about it through the years," said Dalke. "She'd say “no one makes pizza like Steve's Pizza.”
Last month, the couple planned a long overdue trip back to their favorite pizza spot, but instead, rich’s cancer kept him home, now in hospice care.
"So they never made it," said Dalke, with a somber tone in his voice. "They never made it to Battle Creek.”
So, late on Saturday night with Rich's health declining, Dalke decided he was going to give Steve's Pizza in Battle Creek a call. That's when an 18-year-old manager named Dalton Shaffer picked up the phone on the other line.
"He was asking me if I could send a letter or a text message to his daughter, kinda like giving her our condolences for the situation and everything going on,” Shaffer said.
However, Shaffer had a different idea. He offered to deliver the family two fresh pizzas.
"I said 'Dalton... I want to make sure you understand,'" Dalke said replaying the phone conversation. "'I'm calling you from Indianapolis, Indiana. That's three and half hours away, 225 miles...' He said 'I know that.'”
At 2:30 a.m., Shaffer pulled into the family’s Indianapolis driveway with two pizzas in hand. Not hoping for payment, rather to show he cared.
“As he walked out of the house, he looked around at the kids and said 'God bless all of you,'" Dalke said. "And he meant it.”
Around the time Shaffer probably made it back to Battle Creek from the seven-hour roundtrip, Rich and Julie woke the next morning to find a late night delivery they’ll never forget.
While most 18-year-olds wouldn’t spend seven hours on a Saturday night making a pizza delivery, Shaffer knew it was much more than that.
"It was worth it," Shaffer said with a smile. "It was worth it.”
Not only was this Shaffer's longest delivery, it was also his first. As it turns out, Steve's Restaurant doesn't deliver.