John is a twenty-two-year-old pizza delivery boy who works like a madman when a delivery doesn’t go according to plan. When a woman pays him for a pizza, John finds a note among the dollar notes with the words “HELP ME!” He realizes he must save this woman before it’s too late.
John breathed a sigh of relief as he checked the delivery addresses on his phone. The day had been long, and more exhausting than usual. There was only one more delivery to make, then he could go home, relax, and have a pizza.
John hopped on his scooter and headed to Eloise C.’s for the next delivery. He thought he could finish his work quickly and go home because she lived near the area where he had been delivering pizzas all day.
When John parked, he found himself in front of a modest but pretty house. He took the pizza Eloise had ordered, walked to the front door, and rang the bell.
“Hello, I have your pizza, ma’am!” – John shouted. There was no reply…
“Hey! Lady? Are you here?” – he asked again.
John called several times, but no one answered. For a moment he didn’t know what to do.
“Madam, I have your pizza!” – he shouted one last time.
Again there was no reply.
John shook his head disappointedly. He knew that if he did not make this delivery, he would have to pay for it out of his own pocket. John could not afford it. He worked as a pizza delivery boy because he had elderly foster parents who gave him the best, and they deserved the best too.
John was orphaned at an early age and might have ended up in a grey world full of crazy and illegal things had he not been taken in by his foster parents. Out of gratitude, John wanted to financially support his parents, who had spent all their savings to raise him and his siblings.
John decided to wait a little longer, hoping that the woman, Eloise, would come out and take the order from him. As he looked around, he noticed that the house lights were on and there were clothes drying in the backyard. This meant that the house was not empty.
“Excuse me, ma’am! Could you…,” John began as the door finally opened.
“Oh, thank God!” – he sighed, smiling as he prepared to greet his last customer for the day. When Eloise appeared, John sensed there was something wrong with her. She was a frail, petite woman in her fifties who looked frightened as if she feared for her life.
Eloise struggled to open the door. “О… how much… how much did it cost?” – she asked, trembling.
“Uh, it’s $8.99,” John said, handing the woman a box of pizza.
“Ma’am, are you okay? Do you need help?” – he asked, seeing that she was visibly trembling with fear.
To John’s surprise, she nodded. “Yes, yes… Wait for me here, please!” – she said, slamming the door. She returned a few seconds later with some bills and coins and said: “Here, take these. Thank you!”
“Wait, ma’am, I thought you needed help!” – he shouted.
John wanted to ask her if she was okay, but she slammed the door before he could. “Well, have a nice day,” he said anyway.
“Why didn’t she say anything?” – he muttered to himself.
John had an uneasy feeling that Eloise was in trouble. What the hell was wrong with her? He went back to his scooter, spread out the bills, and counted the coins she had given him, and then he realized what was going on. As John was counting the money, he noticed a small crumpled piece of paper – a note – sandwiched between two dollar bills.
When John straightened the note, his eyebrows rose in surprise and his heart raced. “HELP ME! HELP ME!” was written in bold letters. The handwriting suggested that it was sloppily written as if Eloise had been forced to write it quickly and surreptitiously as if she were a prisoner and in danger.
John decided he couldn’t leave Eloise alone. He had to find out what the note meant. Going back to the house and ringing the doorbell would be a bad idea because whoever was in the house with Eloise might try to hurt her or both of them.
John got on his scooter and drove down the driveway behind Eloise’s house. When he reached the garden, he looked out the kitchen window and gasped.
“WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE? WHO IS THIS MAN?”
John saw Eloise shivering on the living room couch, crying and begging for something from a tall man in a vest. He had strange tattoos on his back.
“Oh no, she’s in danger!” panicked John. “I’ve got to get someone to help!”
The big man angrily threw the pizza box to the floor and stomped his shoe on the table in front of Eloise. Then he picked up the money he was holding, gesturing to Eloise that this money was not enough and that he needed more.
John realized there was no time to lose. He had to help Eloise before it was too late. He rushed to his scooter, took the phone out of the compartment on the seat, and dialed 911.
Then he returned to the street in front of Eloise’s house and decided to wait for the police. When they arrived, he went to Eloise’s front door and rang the bell. She immediately opened the door.
“Yes?” “What is it?” she asked breathlessly, straightening her dress.
“Ma’am, I know there’s someone there,” John said confidently. “I found your note. This!” he added, pointing to the note. “I can help you! What’s going on?”
Eloise rubbed her palms together nervously. “Oh… well… Oh, I’m sure there’s been a mistake, officers. Nothing serious. Really, I was just going to eat my pizza!”.
“Can we look inside?” One of the officers asked.
“Oh, yes, of course, of course. Why not?”
Eloise opened the door for everyone to enter. The police searched the whole house but found no one.
“You see, I told you I was fine!” Eloise exclaimed. “Why should there be a man here? My husband died many years ago, and since then it’s just me.”
“But I saw him!” John cried. “He was right there!”
“Our team has checked all the rooms and there is no one here, monsieur. I hope you know that a false statement is a crime.”
“I’m not lying! He was there! Right here! And pizza… He really threw the pizza box on the floor! So I’m sure she wasn’t going to eat pizza!”
“Oh, well, I… I…” Eloise stuttered: “I was so excited, but I accidentally dropped the box on the floor and I had to throw it away!”
“You’re lying!” said John. “You’re lying, Eloise! I know you’re in trouble and that this man, whoever he was, tried to take money from you! How could you…”
“Sir,” the officer interjected. “If this lady says there is no problem, we have to take her word for it. I’m giving you a warning. If you report a false offense again, we will be forced to take you to the police station. We’re going to get out of here.”
John followed the police officers into the street and stood alone, watching as their car disappeared around the corner. He sighed in bewilderment as he remembered what he had seen through Eloise’s kitchen window. THERE HAD TO BE A MAN! He saw him!
Frustrated, John buttoned up his helmet and got on his scooter to drive home. Suddenly, a voice called out to him. “Wait, please! Can we talk?”
John looked in that direction and saw Eloise in the doorway. “What do you need now?” “What is it?” he asked angrily.
“I… I wrote that note,” she confessed.
“Then why didn’t you tell the police about it? What if they took me to the police station?”
“I’m sorry,” she said. “Could you come in, please? I really need company.”
“Five minutes,” he said. “That’s all you’ll get!”
John got off his scooter and followed Eloise into the house. When she sat down opposite him and started talking, she started crying.
“So who is he?” John asked.
“His name is Reggie. He… is the pawnbroker.”
“A pawnbroker? Why would a woman like you have to deal with a man like him?”
“I had no choice,” Eloise confessed. “I needed money for my son. I thought it was a miracle when he showed up to help me. I didn’t know he wasn’t the right person for me…”.
Eloise’s youngest son, Jacob, was studying at the university, but she could not afford to pay for his education. So she borrowed money from Reggie and promised to return it before the deadline. By the will of fate, she suddenly lost her job, and as soon as Reggie found out about it, he began to pursue her.
He began to come to her house often and demand money, while Eloise still had time to pay.
“I have no savings,” she said, sobbing. “And I can’t call the police because, you know, this man has connections and he might hurt my son. I can’t let that happen. So when the police came, I had to lie and say he wasn’t there. I gave him the money I had and he left.
“But you must put an end to this situation, or he will continue to extort money from you.”
“I don’t know how to get rid of him!” – she sighed.
John understood Eloise’s situation. He knew he had to help her somehow. “I think there is a way to help you,” he said.
“Really?” Her eyes widened.
“Are you sure this Reggie won’t come after you if you pay off his loan?”
“Yes,” she says. “Money. That’s all he needs.”
“In that case, would you like to work at the pizzeria where I work?”.
There was an assistant vacancy at John’s pizzeria. And he asked Eloise to come by the next day to try.
To everyone’s surprise, Eloise turned out to be an excellent cook and a team player, so John’s boss hired her after a week of probation. Two months later, a nearby Italian restaurant offered her a higher-paying job as a cook, and Eloise accepted the offer.
Eloise began to earn good money and was finally able to support her family. Meanwhile, Reggie came home one day and asked for money again. Eloise gave him the money he had saved, but this time she would not let him leave.
She had already called the police, and when he took the money and left the house, he was detained. The police arrested him for illegal activities, for blackmailing and defrauding innocent citizens.
Eloise was relieved to see Reggie being led to a police car after being arrested for his misconduct. Now she could live in peace and without worries.
But it didn’t end there. Eloise knew that none of this would have been possible without John’s help. She decided to visit him and express her gratitude for his help and kindness while apologizing for dragging him into her problems.
“Oh, I’m sure you would have done the same!” John waved his hand dismissively. “Honestly, Eloise, I am pleased when you can help someone and change something in their life. When I told my parents about it, they were very proud of me, and I think it means a lot to me.”
“All right,” Eloise said. “I’m sure they were very proud of you, just like any parent. But gratitude wasn’t enough for what you did for me, John. That’s why I decided to do something special for you.”
“What?” John laughed. “What do you mean?”
“Well, come to me tomorrow at exactly two o’clock, and don’t forget the pizza you gave me last time!” she exclaimed joyfully.
John had no idea what Eloise meant until he showed up at her house the next day with a Pepperoni pizza. “So what’s the matter?” – he asked.
She handed him the pizza money and a note with dollar bills. “And you deserve it,” she told him.
John was confused when he opened the note. As he began to read it, tears came to his eyes and he began to cry. “My God…,” he sobbed. “You couldn’t have done it!”
This time the note was not a call for help, but an expression of gratitude. It read as follows:
Congratulations, John! Your boss and I have this surprise for you! YOU’RE THE MANAGER NOW! I told your boss how you helped me and he was impressed. He decided to reward you with a promotion!
Reggie would never have stopped bothering me if it wasn’t for that pizza delivery. You earned that promotion because you work hard and help others. You have also given me the confidence to share my story with other women my age who may not know about illegal loans and scams. Thanks to you, I can raise awareness about this issue.
Thank you for helping me and so many others,