The Amtrak train sat stranded Sunday evening on a track in the Wilmington, Delaware, area with some hungry passengers aboard.
So someone on the train dialed up a nearby pizza joint, Dom’s NY Style Pizzeria, and asked whether they would deliver some pies to the train.
At first, the clerk at Dom’s wasn’t sure. So he turned to longtime pizza delivery man Jim Leary and asked, “Can we deliver to a stuck train?”
Leary replied: “Oh yeah. We can do it.” Then he waited on the pizzas and got ready to head out to his 2000 Kia Sportage to make the delivery. Leary, who has been delivering pizzas for 18 years, recalled the story Monday of the delivery to an Amtrak train as he prepared to grill out on his day off.
The train was between New York and Washington and had stopped for unknown reasons in Delaware. The passengers weren’t sure how long they’d be there. Amtrak didn’t immediately respond to a request for a comment.
Leary, 46, said he drove to an address that a passenger on the train had given him of a nearby house and parked on the dead-end street. The site was about a quarter-mile from the pizza shop.
He said he then navigated his way behind a row of houses, past a fence and over a small berm and across a small stream — all while balancing two pizza pies in a bag.
On Twitter, Mitch Katz posted a video of the pizza delivery, saying “got hangry and problem solved.”
As he walked along the gully area, Leary said passengers were waving and cheering.
“It was funny,” he said. As he got close to the train, he said he called back the cellphone number that had placed the order and the customer guided him to the correct car of the train.
“The guy was waving and saying ‘I’m down here,’ ” Leary said as he described how the man leaned out of the train. “I told him, ‘I’ll be there in a minute.’ “
The customer tipped him $12 on a credit card, but when another passenger realized Leary had thoughtfully remembered paper plates, someone handed him a $20 bill as a tip.
“It was easy money,” Leary said of the tip.
He said it was the first time he’s delivered to a train. He can quickly tick off the odd places he’s delivered pizza, including ballgames, campgrounds, cars stuck in highway traffic, broken-down tractor trailers, boats and carnivals, but not to a train.
“I’ve been robbed and everything else,” said Leary, who proudly claims that he has worked as a pizza delivery man delivering pies in 18 states, 28 counties and three parishes. He said he plans to someday write a book about it.
He’s worked for Doms for two years. Dom’s has been in business for 12 years and the owner, Dominick Filingeri, called the incident with Leary’s delivery unique.
Leary said he’s stuck with his pizza delivery career for so long because he likes it.
“I really enjoy it,” he said. “I really like going up to a door and a kid is there yelling, ‘Mommy, mommy the pizza man is here.’
“It’s self-fulfilling,” he said. “Having all the happiness I bring. I like that.”
Of the Amtrak delivery, he said, “I would do anything to help people out and they were starving.”
There was some jockeying on social media Monday over who exactly had ordered the two pizza pies — one cheese and one pepperoni, order #80 from Dom’s.
On Twitter, Logan McHugh said his brother, Wade, had placed the order for the pizzas and put up a credit card receipt showing a $23.74 charge.