Mesa Pizza delivery driver Matthias Joyce smirked as a line of inebriated University students stumbled through the lobby of The Bridges and onto the streets near Dinkytown.
Despite the increased policing for homecoming, one student openly sipped from a can of beer as he left.
Over the past six months delivering for Mesa, Joyce has grown accustomed to dealing with the drunken maroon-and-gold. However, Saturday night’s order was a first for him.
There was an identical order — mac-and-cheese pizza with three cups of southwest sauce — for the same apartment building placed two hours before, but when Joyce arrived, the young woman who called in would not answer her phone.
“Let’s see what happens,” Joyce said.
A few minutes later, a glassy-eyed girl nervously retrieved her pizza, admitting she fell asleep immediately after placing the order.
“She said she ordered under a different name because she was embarrassed,” Joyce said to his co-worker James Reckinger when he returned to the shop.
Reckinger has experienced similar deliveries working for Mesa the past two years.
“I try not to make people feel bad if they do that or if they don’t answer their phone,” he said. “But it is a real pain in the ass if you have to drive back to the store, and then they call back, like, ‘Where’s my pizza?’ ”
After the initial call, delivery drivers usually wait 10 to 15 minutes for a customer to respond. If they don’t answer the driver’s repeated calls or texts, then the pizza goes back to Mesa.
“Then we have a pizza we can’t do anything with,” Reckinger said.
One time, when Joyce returned to the shop with an undelivered pizza, the customer had her boyfriend call back and threaten to beat Joyce up — even after Joyce said he’d get another pizza out to them in a half hour.
The customer just began counting down, demanding her pizza in ten minutes, then five.
“You can’t be doing that and then expect to still get your food,” Joyce said.
However, not every customer who reconnects with Joyce is so hostile.
“I brought an order to a girl before, and she started texting me after that,” Joyce said. “Just like, ‘Hey, what’s up? How’s it going?’ ”
Then she began giving him menu recommendations.
“I’ll tell the manager that,” he said to her.
Most deliveries — even the late-night drunken ones — don’t involve problems, just stories.
One night, Joyce delivered an order to someone’s backyard. When the man came out, he was wearing a large plastic smock, covered in black paint.
The man offered Joyce a $20 tip if he stayed and dropped acid with him and his friends.
“Man, I can’t do that,” Joyce said. “But you should tip me $20 anyway because that would be really awesome.”
The man reluctantly agreed, and Joyce returned to the road with a generous tip and a story to tell.