In the aftermath of a hurricane, communication is dire. Infrastructure is wrecked, and internet and phone connections are scant, so naturally, the only recourse is to communicate with loved ones through pizza. Pizza delivery, to be precise.
That’s what one Nebraska man did after learning that his 87-year-old grandmother’s phone line was down in Florida after Hurricane Matthew swept through much of the state. According to local news station WFTV, Claire Olsen hadn’t been able to communicate with her family for three days, so her grandson Eric Olsen called her local Papa John’s pizza parlor from across the country, summoning a young delivery driver to his grandmother’s door. This was only after calling the fire department and local police about his grandmother, who had been incommunicado during and after the storm, Eric told ABC.
Eric ordered the pizza with special instructions -- for delivery driver Lance Tyler to call him once he arrived at Olsen’s doorstep. Olsen was skeptical at first, thinking that the pizza man could have been some drifter or pizza-wielding interloper intent on a scam, but then she heard her grandson’s voice over the phone, and all was merry.
"(My grandson said) ‘Grandma, I haven't talked to you in two days. I got worried about you. You must be hungry by now,'" Olsen told reporters from her home in Palm Coast.
The driver, Lance Tyler, who presumably had no idea what the whole charade was about, had to toe the line between pizza man and emergency dispatch personnel. He told WFTV: "The way that he answered the phone, 'Is she there? Is she OK?' It sounded like he was worried...Her expression was just priceless. It was like, 'Wow!'"
The grandmother’s phone is back up and running, reports WFTV, although there’s no word on any pizzas she’s ordered since the incident.
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Sam Blum is a News Staff Writer for Thrillist. He's also a martial arts and music nerd who appreciates a fine sandwich and cute dogs. Find his clips in The Guardian, Rolling Stone, The A.V. Club and Vice. He's on Twitter @Blumnessmonster.