INDIANAPOLIS – A Michigan pizzeria worker made sure a man battling cancer got to eat his favorite pie – even if it meant a delivery that would take him more than 200 miles away from the restaurant.
If it was your last pizza ever, where would you order from? For Julie Morgan and her husband Rich, the answer has always been Steve's in Battle Creek, Michigan.
"Whenever they got a paycheck, they would go to Steve's Pizza because they loved his pizza," Julie's dad, David Dalke said.
However, the couple moved over 20 years ago, and their orders stopped. But the pizza restaurant never faded from their memories, or their taste buds.
"She talked about it through the years," said Dalke. "She'd say, 'no one makes pizza like Steve's Pizza.'”
The couple recently planned a trip back to Michigan, and Steve's, when the unexpected struck.
"They were so thrilled to do it, thought it would be a great reminiscence, good memory," Dalke said. "But instead what they ended up doing was going to the ER at the hospital and Rich's diagnosis was that of severe cancer."
As Rich prepared to go into hospice some 200 miles away, at Steve's, 18-year-old Dalton Shaffer was cleaning up and closing down, when the phone rang. Dalke was on the other end of the line.
"He said that his family was thinking about coming up and grabbing pizza and things like that," Shaffer said. "But due to the circumstances they weren't able to do that."
So that night, minutes away from breaking free of work, Shaffer made an odd suggestion.
"I offered to bring pizza to them," he said.
"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.'”
While the Morgans slept, unaware of the plan, Shaffer made the three-hour drive across the state line to Indiana.
"And I went out to meet him around 2:30 [a.m.], he got out of his car and acted like he was delivering pizza, he said 'Here's your pizza!'" Dalke said. "He opened them up, 'Here you go: pepperoni, pepperoni and mushroom.'"
"The family came up, gave me a hug and everything like that, and it was cool," Shaffer said. "The expression on their faces and everything, was really cool."
It was his first delivery, and perhaps Rich Morgan's last Steve's Pizza, but it was certainly no burden.
"Anybody that's watching this... keep them in mind and pray for them," Shaffer said. "And I hope the best for them and I hope the Lord brings them comfort."
Not only was this Shaffer's longest delivery, it was also his first. As it turns out, Steve's Restaurant doesn't deliver.