Local pizza driver sees a lot of doors along his route

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 22, 2009

It’s a typical Thursday night as David Cobb climbs into his red Dodge Charger and gets ready to work.

By day, Cobb, who lives in Ridgecrest, pumps oil wells for Mason Oil Company, but at night, he delivers pizza and sandwiches for Sonny’s Pizza in Vidalia.

For the last four years, Cobb has delivered food five or six nights a week for Sonny’s and has met countless hungry individuals in Vidalia and Natchez.

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Cobb got into the delivery business with a little help from his son, David Jr.

“I had just gotten divorced and was looking for something to do,” Cobb says as he cruises toward Sycamore Street in Vidalia for a delivery. “My son had worked for Sonny’s as a delivery driver so I went in and told them I needed something to do, and they hired me.”

What began as a temporary part-time job to pass the time has turned into four years of enjoyment.

“I didn’t know if I was going to like it, but I did,” Cobb said. “It has gone by in a hurry. It’s kept me out of trouble and given me something to do.”

It has also given Cobb the opportunity to meet many people he wouldn’t normally have met.

“You meet a lot of people in this job,” Cobb said. “You deliver to a lot of the same houses over and over so you get to know the people.”

And it’s not only at the front door of their houses that Cobb sees his customers.

“I’ll see them at Walmart or other places,” Cobb said. “They call me the Pizza Man.”

Cobb slows down in order to find the correct mobile home in a row of them on a dark street.

It’s time to pull out Cobb’s one and only tool of the trade — a high-powered flashlight.

“This really comes in handy,” Cobb says as he shines it toward the house. “Those house numbers are hard to see from the road in the dark.”

He finds the right house and delivers the food. He’s not lucky on his first delivery as there’s no tip.

A tip might not be expected at a mobile home that is located in an older part of Vidalia, but Cobb said looks can be deceiving.

“You never know who is going to tip the best,” Cobb said. “I went to this house one time and the family was literally sitting on milk crates, but they gave me a $10 tip. Sometimes the people you think wouldn’t tip are the best.”

It’s back to Sonny’s now to get the next delivery orders. Cobb climbs out of his car and enters the back door of the restaurant’s kitchen, where there are two orders waiting on him.

He takes a moment to joke around with some of his co-workers, something he never misses a chance to do.

“It’s a good atmosphere to work in,” Cobb said. “It’s strange how close you get to your co-workers here because they come and go. But I like to have a good time.”

With orders in hand, it’s time to cross the Mississippi River bridge and head on over to Natchez for two deliveries.

With a delivery area that spreads from Airport Road in Vidalia all the way to Trinity Episcopal School on U.S. 61 South in Natchez, it would seem a difficult chore to be able to locate each house in the delivery area.

However, Cobb says that has never been a problem for him.

“It’s really not that hard,” he said. “I thought I’d have trouble when I first started but I didn’t. There’s a big map at Sonny’s that you can look at if you need to find something, but if I ever can’t find a house, I’ll just pull out my cell phone and call it and have the customer give me directions.”

The first of the two Natchez deliveries is on North Union Street at a house Cobb knows well.

“That old boy on Union Street usually gives a couple of dollars tip,” Cobb said.

And sure enough, after a pleasant exchange and delivery of the pizza, Cobb gets a $4 tip.

Getting to know his customers is not a rare thing for Cobb. Since he has four years experience, he is a popular delivery driver, and customers enjoy having him deliver their food.

“Your customers get to know you,” Cobb said. “I have people call in and have my name put on the delivery. There’s a lady in Natchez who always asks that my name be put on the delivery. Most people want their food and a little pleasant conversation. I wouldn’t want someone who just threw the food at me and left.”

Cobb’s final stop of the night is at Village Green Apartments. It’s actually the second time he has delivered there that night. He delivered to the C building earlier and now is delivering to the B building.

Cobb has someone extra waiting on him as he knocks on the door.

In addition to the lady who answers the door, there is a small, black yappy dog named Max who is giving Cobb a hard time about making him wait for his pizza.

While dogs have long been the nemesis of delivery people and mail carriers, Max is nothing more than a nuisance.

However, there have been times where Cobb has come across larger, more intimidating canines.

“I won’t get out of the car if they have a big dog,” Cobb said. “I’ll call them from my cell phone and tell them to come out and get it. Or I’ll call and ask if the dog bites, and if they say no I’ll go on up to the house.”

With his deliveries for the night done, it’s time to head back to Sonny’s and clock out.

Soon it will be time to go home and hit the bed, because Cobb will have to get up early Friday morning for his job at Mason Oil Company before delivering some more pizzas on Friday night.

“Sometimes I get real tired and need some down time,” Cobb says as he pulls into the Sonny’s parking lot to call it a night. “But it don’t do no good to be in a bad mood. That’s my outlook on life. I wouldn’t be working here if I couldn’t have a little fun while I was doing it.”