By CRISTINA JANNEY
Dave Schmidt is finally hanging up his Pizza Hut uniform today after more than 22 years as a delivery driver.
Dave, 67, has kept a journal of the number of deliveries he has made and miles he has logged during his career.
As of Monday at his surprise retirement party, he said he was bout 300 deliveries away from 65,000 career deliveries in Hays.
He has logged more than 200,000 miles on 11 different vehicles. He said he bought inexpensive vehicles and drove them until they broke down. The stop-and-go driving was very hard on transmissions.
He has been on every street and in every corner of the city, and, chances are, he probably has delivered a pizza to you.
Dave started delivering pizzas as a temporary way to earn a little extra money. His son had to have knee surgery, and he needed some extra cash to pay off the bill.
The bill was paid off and then another bill came up and another, so he kept delivering pizzas.
He worked full-time at Enerys during the day and then delivered pizzas at night.
Kevin Pfeifer, Dave’s former manager, said Dave was the best driver he ever had and he quickly assigned him as a trainer.
“He was fast, and he was good,” he said.
Pfeifer added, “He never stood still. When he wasn’t delivering pizzas, he was cleaning. He was a hardworking, dependable guy.”
Allisa Bohrer, Dave’s current manager, also had praise for him.
“He is super dependable and reliable,” she said. “He never gets lost.”
The pizza industry tends to have a high turn-over rate. Not many employees can mark more than two decades. Bohrer said the driver with the next longest tenure at her store has been there five years.
His supervisors said Dave’s customers never had complaints, and Dave said he enjoyed meeting all the people in Hays.
He has had many repeat customers over the years and is now delivering pizzas to adults whose families he delivered pizzas when they were children. Some customers even ask for Dave by name.
The bills are coming a little less fast and furious, so Dave has decided to end his delivery career. He has two acres in the country and plans to plant a big garden and work on various projects.
Bohrer said Dave will be missed.
“That is why we wanted to do this [party] for him,” she said. “He deserves some recognition.”