Meet America’s Most Hardcore Pizza Delivery Guy

By Stefanie Tuder

Mar 21, 2014 1:26pm

Often portrayed as lazy stoners who don’t care if your food gets to you warm and in a timely manner, pizza delivery workers have gotten a bad rap for years.

Enter Aleksandar Joksic, who’s here to crush all your stereotypical pizza deliveryman dreams.

Joksic, 25, is part-owner of East Coast Pizzeria in Barrow, Alaska, where temperatures are regularly negative 40 degrees.

He goes to great lengths to make sure the residents of Barrow get pizzas to them warm — including using special thermal bags, never shutting his car off throughout the day and wearing many layers to stay warm himself.

Scroll through for a detailed look inside Joksic’s life as America’s most hardcore pizza delivery guy.

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Aleksandar Joksic delivers pizza in Barrow, Alaska, one of America's coldest towns.

“I went to college for economics and decided to invest my savings and buy 50 percent of East Coast Pizzeria, but I’m still doing the deliveries,” he said. “I help because it’s winter, and that’s the busiest part of the year for delivery. This is now my business, and so I want to take care that everything works perfectly and is on time.”

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It's hard to differentiate roads from land when snow is this high.

“Barrow is the top of the world. Every morning I wake up, before I start my coffee or do anything, I need to go outside and start my car to warm up to a normal temperature for work. It takes at least 45 minutes. In wintertime there’s no light, so in December and January we don’t have daylight at all, and people don’t like to go out, so that’s the busiest for delivery,” he said.

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Cars often drive wherever they can in snowy conditions, rendering road signs useless.

“Here we have snow in two parts of the year. When winter starts in end of September/start of October, we have a lot. After that it’s so cold, and we don’t have too much snow, but everything is frozen, even the ocean. You can drive the car over the ocean. We have a small lake in the town and you can drive the car over it,” Joksic said.

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Wind and snow make driving visibility extremely low in Barrow, Alaska.

“Wind is the biggest problem here, because there’s nothing to stop it. That can make you a little depressed, but it’s okay,” he said.

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A typical week's weather in Barrow, Alaska.

“I need to wear layers because it’s very cold,” he said. “I have two pairs of pants, three or four pairs of socks. I have a very big jacket with fur. It may look funny, but it’s very important here because it protects my face from the wind. And I need to wear gloves, which is very unusual for people doing deliveries because it’s hard to work with money [with gloves on], but it’s very painful if you work without gloves.”

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East Barrow Pizzeria used to use a truck with special wheels for the snow and ice before switching to a smaller car to save gas.

“We don’t have any roads between us and south Alaska, so everything comes by plane and is pretty expensive — one gallon of gas is $7, and a gallon of milk is $12,” he said. “With this car we need 5 to 6 gallons of gas every day, which is why we bought this car four months ago. Everybody was suspicious about how this car would work here because everyone’s using the trucks. This is how we can save money to be economical and that’s why we take the risk. I can say that we are the cheapest restaurant. Now, all the other restaurants want to try the same in the next couple of months.”

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The pizzeria uses special thermal bags to keep the pizza warm in such frigid temperatures.

“We use special bags to keep our food warm. A lot of companies order lunch, and we can be doing about 50 deliveries every day,” he said.

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A peculiar slice of life from Barrow, Alaska.

“The car stays on all day because it’s really, really cold, and if I need to go somewhere like the post office or any other big building where i need to spend a little more time to deliver the food, I plug in the car. All cars have a small charger plug with a block heater used to warm up the oil in the engine because if not, it’s going to be frozen and you cannot start your car. You battery will be dead,” he said.

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Pizza goes out for delivery.

“Around Barrow you have five or six remote villages that don’t have any restaurants or road access, so I deliver food straight to the runway and they take food down there. Twice every day I’m delivering to the planes. Every single day,” said Joksic.

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Beautiful sunsets like these keep Joksic attached to the town.

“I like it here. I’m young and I’m 25 and I can be adventurous. The community is very small — only 5,000 people—and everybody knows each other,” he said. “If I’m stuck on the road, everyone wants to come to help, and I do the same. Everybody’s very nice and I like people here. That’s the only way we can survive is together.”

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