Local Domino’s market specialist Jesse Lovejoy saw the devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic was causing in his community and decided that he wanted to find a way to bring some positivity back into the world. He has worked at Domino’s for 14 years now, so naturally, free pizza came to mind.
“In the beginning of all of this pandemic stuff, everything seemed kind of upside down,” said Lovejoy. “All of a sudden, everyone started losing their jobs and no one knew what was going on.”
In his days of bar-hopping in the Lansing area, Lovejoy met a multitude of service workers — bartenders, bouncers, wait staff. He knew that the pandemic put most of them out of a job, at least temporarily. So, he came up with a plan. For every fifty dollars he made on a shift, Lovejoy would buy a pizza, reach out to someone in need and drop it off. It gave him an opportunity to check in on friends and acquaintances — from a safe distance, of course.
“I would just kinda stand in their yard while they sit on the porch,” said Lovejoy. “I liked to talk with them and see how they’re doing.”
Lovejoy was initially resistant when a pizza recipient tried to offer him a tip. But then he realized that he could use the tip money to purchase even more pizzas for those in need. So, anytime he received a tip, he promised to use the money to buy a pizza for someone else.
“It kinda became a nomination thing,” said Lovejoy. “People would give me a tip, give me a name and then, I’d drop off a pizza to that person. It just felt like the right thing to do”
Lovejoy emphasized that he’s not the only one who’s been providing free pizzas to the community.
“Some families would call and have pizzas delivered to Sparrow Hospital,” said Lovejoy. “One family called and asked me to deliver a pizza to anyone who would take it.” He has also worked with non-profit organizations like Brotherhood Against Drugs and Punks With Lunch to distribute free pizza.
The past few months have taught Lovejoy that a simple act of kindness can be more powerful than you’d ever expect.
“It brought a lot of good to a time with a lot of frustration and helped me focus my mind on positivity,” said Lovejoy. “I’m just doing something small. I definitely plan on continuing to be involved and working with great people and organizations to make a difference.”
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