A family in South Carolina has raised over $250,000 for their 72-year-old Domino's delivery driver Barbara Gillespie.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 17, 2023. It has since been updated.
A family from South Carolina has raised more than $250,000 for their 72-year-old Domino's delivery driver, Barbara Gillespie, who was injured while delivering their food on February 3. The fall was caught on the family's home security video and the footage was viewed over 3 million times on TikTok. Kevin Keighron, the homeowner, opened the door to find Gillespie struggling to get up, apologizing for dropping the food. He reassured her it was fine and he and his wife, Lacey Klein, set up a GoFundMe page to leave an extra “tip” for Gillespie. The fundraiser was a huge success. Over 14,000 people donated to the cause. Gillespie said she is in awe of the amount of money donated to her by strangers and Domino’s told “GMA” they’re grateful that “caring customers were able to help her transform her life so meaningfully.” Gillespie plans to retire, having submitted her two-week notice to Domino's on February 8.
The situation has sparked a larger conversation about many Americans having to work past their retirement age to afford the cost of living. GoFundMe said there has been a “ripple effect” of fundraisers to help people reach retirement. Kevin and Lacey Klein wrote in their description for Gillespie, “Let’s show her some kindness and take off some of this burden that our economy is causing the older generations especially.” They want Gillespie to retire and enjoy her grandkids, her kids and her great-great-grandkids, go on a cruise, take a vacation, or do whatever she wants.
The community's generosity and kindness have inspired similar campaigns to help older workers retire. For example, strangers raised over $133,000 for an 82-year-old Walmart employee after a TikTok video of her at work gained people's attention. It is heart-warming to see so many people come together to help those in need. Over the past three decades, American workers have been retiring at increasingly later ages. According to a Gallup poll, the average retirement age rose from 57 in 1991 to 61 in 2022. Additionally, the target retirement age for non-retirees increased from 60 in 1995 to 66 in 2022. It is likely due to a combination of economic downturns, changing perceptions on retirement, increased workplace flexibility and the aging of the 'baby boom' generation.
Organizations such as the AARP Foundation are working to support older adults in the workforce. The organization provides resources and helps secure essentials such as employment, benefits and refunds. Mindy Feldbaum, vice president of the AARP Foundation, noted that there has been an increase in demand for programs such as AARP's Back to Work 50+, Work for Yourself at 50+ and Senior Community Service Employment Program.
Feldbaum also pointed out that older adults face age discrimination in the workplace and lack the confidence to find another job in the event they are laid off. A recent study conducted by the AARP Foundation found that nearly one-third of older workers worry they will lose their job within a year, primarily due to a weak economy. In addition, 64% of older workers reported experiencing age discrimination in today's workplace and 41% experienced ageism in the past three years. The AARP Foundation seeks to build the confidence of unemployed, underemployed and low-wage workers to help them get back to work and achieve economic security.