A young pizza ranch employee received the surprise of his life this week.
After coworkers recognized the man walked several miles to work, they decided to pool their resources and change that.
Jarvis Phipps loves his job at Pizza Ranch, but the 18-year-old had some difficulty getting there. That all that changed though after one surprise turned into four wheels.
Jace Perreault, Regional Marketing Manager for the pizza chain says Phipps is a model employee. "He's a hard worker. He's dedicated." Perreault bragged
Phipps usually has to clock in by 4pm each day, a task he takes seriously and there's two main things that he says characterize his work ethic.
"Getting to the job on time and being responsible" declared Phipps.
In order to do that, he would make close to a two and a half mile trek to work, no matter the circumstance.
"It was definitely difficult. Especially on days where it was windy and rainy. I mean c'mon it's Illinois. The weather was changing every single day. Sometimes I would have to layer and put a hoodie over my coat." Phipps detailed the various inclement weather conditions he'd walk, which included a route alongside the highway where there's barely a sidewalk.
So the Pizza Ranch employees masterminded a plan to buy a car for their fellow coworker. It took almost four months.
Perreault says Pizza Ranch isn't like the average employer. They operate like a family and choose employees at random, to help out when they see a need. This time it was Jarvis. So they called a meeting and brainstormed ways to achieve their plan. "We started saving money. We started saving our tips and saving...whatever we could to do make it happen for him." he explained.
When they finally presented the car to Phipps, Perreault says the moment was priceless.
"It was a really amazing feeling. It was just really unexplainable. I've been wanting this for such a long time." beamed Phipps as he shared his reaction to the surprise.
Although this car was a gift for Jarvis, both he and the Pizza Ranch family say it symbolizes a lot more than a present. It's about access.
"Transportation is huge. People who rely on the bus system or they do have to walk....it makes things really difficult for em sometimes." said Perreault.
Phipps says while he could have taken the bus, he was trying really hard to save for a car. He'd set aside almost $800 when he was gifted the Chevy Impala. Now that he can cruise around the city, it makes all the difference for him.
"I get here a lot faster," Phipps said through laughter. "And its great to have the freedom to be social." He adds that this gift proves to him that there's still good people in the world and he plans on paying it forward.