A South Carolina family felt inspired to help after their Domino’s Pizza driver took a painful tumble while delivering food to their home — so they raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help her retire.
Barbara Gillespie, 72, was walking up the steps of the home in early February when she stumbled and dropped the order. The accident was caught on a security camera.
Gillespie picked a good spot to take a tumble, if there is such a thing: Lacey Klein is an EMT and mother of five, and her husband, Kevin Keighron, is a paramedic and firefighter. They saw Gillespie go down and knew they had to help.
Here’s the video from @momofthe5ks, but be warned: It looks like it hurts.
@momofthe5ks Our dominos delivery driver fell on our front porch today and my heart just hurts for her. She’s clearly having a hard time. She was so worried about our food but all we cared about was that she was okay. I’m so sad for her @dominos #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #dominospizza ♬ original sound – Lacey Keighron
“Watching her fall on our camera playback was horrific, and we were so sad for her that she wasn’t retired at her age but instead was delivering food,” Klein told Newsweek.
At age 72, a fall is a much bigger deal than in a person’s younger years. Bones weaken with age, and hip fractures are common. According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls are the leading cause of injury and injury death in U.S. adults age 65 and older.
Shortly after the incident, Klein created a GoFundMe and uploaded the clip of the fall in hopes of raising money for a really big “tip,” as she called it.
“I thought, even if only a couple people donate, maybe she could take a couple days off to recover and relax,” Klein told Newsweek.
The initial goal was to raise $200,000 — but 15.8 million TikTok views later, they’ve blown past that figure. The family has now collected more than $265,000 to give to Gillespie.
In a second TikTok, the Keighrons and two of their daughters visited Domino’s and filmed Gillespie’s reaction to the gift.
@momofthe5ks Barbara is the internets grandma now!!!!! She gave us permission to post updates on TikTok and is SO appreciative of everyone!! She was so speechless!!! We got her all set up as the beneficiary on gofundme! This has been the most amazing experience, thank you all so much for your help blessing Barbara!!!!! @dominos #dominospizza #for #foryoupage #foryou #dominosgrandma ♬ original sound – Lacey Keighron
In a news clip that Klein posted to her TikTok page, she explains to an interviewer why Gillespie’s fall at work had felt so personal to her. Her father, who died two years ago, had worked right up until he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He ended up spending his brief retirement in chemo treatments.
“Seeing another elderly person working at that age — when do they get to retire?” Klein said. “It just broke my heart, watching her have to work full time.”
And for the record, Gillespie actually did enjoy her job at Domino’s, for more than five years! She praised the staff to Newsweek, saying, “They have been so kind and friendly.”
“We are so beyond relieved to know that Barbara can now relax,” Klein said. “She can spend all the time she wants with her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids and not have to worry about it.”
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Featured Image Credit: GoFundme.com.