Food delivery drivers are often unappreciated. They work for low wages and rely heavily on customers' tips.
But an Evanston neighborhood will show unprecedented recognition and respect for one pizza deliveryman on Tuesday.
For 16 years, Stephen Walker had delivered pizza without a problem. But last Tuesday, while on the job, he was attacked by two men who knocked him to the ground before stealing his money and car.
Two suspects were later arrested when they crashed the car into a tree at Case St. and Ridge Ave. The vehicle was completely incinerated and was a total loss.
Omar Gutiérrez witnessed the attack in his condo courtyard on 142-148 Clyde Avenue and dialed 911. He later talked with Walker at the police station. The deliveryman, who suffered multiple bone contusions, told Gutiérrez just how much he relied on his car for income, and he wasn't sure how he would survive now that it was gone.
Gutiérrez wanted to help Walker, who made frequent deliveries to the area, so he launched a website asking neighbors to help: "Clyde Ave. neighbors care!"
On Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune reported that Gutiérrez was struggling to keep up with more than 500 e-mails and donations pouring in Monday from as far as South Korea and Germany as people learned of his good deed.
"[Walker] is a good, honest guy," says the website. "I believe people like him deserve to be helped in times of need. He works in our community and delivers pizza in our block all the time. Let's show him we care!"
In only three days, neighbors contributed over $1700. They will present Walker with the money at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the scene where the attack took place.
Walker has spent this past week recovering at home and is overwhelmed by the community's response.
"There are good people everywhere," he told the Tribune.
Carletus Jackson, 22, and Christopher Norton, 21, have been charged with robbery and vehicular hijacking. The Clyde Ave neighbors plan to show their support for Walker by attending the court hearings.