Stabbed pizza delivery man denies report he still made delivery, talks 116 tattoo
Josh Lewis, the legendary pizza delivery man who was reportedly stabbed and still made his delivery, reached out to Rapzilla.com from his hospital bed on Wednesday to clarify that his assailant had actually stolen the pizza.
“Someone for some news company around here started that rumor,” Lewis, 19, said, “but it’s not true. I had more important things to do as I was bleeding to death than getting a pizza delivered.”
His Spinelli’s Pizza manager, Willow Rouben, had told WLKY.com that Lewis fought through the pain to deliver the pizza before he collapsed in the emergency room. However, Lewis explained that his manager had heard this from a reporter on the scene, and she just assumed it was true. This is Lewis’ version of the story.
As he pulled into a Louisville hospital’s 15-minute parking to make a delivery on Sunday, Lewis noticed a man at a bus stop stand up and start to walk toward his car. Lewis assumed the man wanted money from him to board the bus, but when Lewis opened his door, the stranger aggressively demanded his car keys. Lewis could see him hiding something — perhaps a gun or knife — and cautiously handed him the keys.
Then the stranger revealed a large dagger.
“I looked him in the face,” Lewis said, “and I could tell he had every intention to stab me, even though he had my keys.”
Lewis turned to run, but the man quickly slashed nearly his entire back. The knife entered Lewis’ rib cage, puncturing his diaphragm and liver. His right lung immediately collapsed.
The attacker escaped to Lewis’ car and sped away — with the pizza.
Lewis screamed for help, but no one was around. He found an elevator, and, when the doors opened, a nurse awaited him. The nurse rushed him to the emergency room, where doctors slowed the bleeding and — because he lost so much blood — hooked him up to three IVs.
Throughout his near-death experience, Lewis said he managed to stay somewhat composed, even cracking a joke after a nurse said, “I’m just going to put some dressing on that to stop the bleeding.”
Lewis asked if the dressing was Ranch or Caesar.
“I don’t really know why I wasn’t [in shock],” Lewis said. “I think God was with me through the whole thing, and that’s really what kept me calm. I stayed pretty calm the entire time, even when I was bleeding to death. I just knew what I had to do to get through it, and once the nurses and doctors were encouraging me, I kind of calmed down some more.”
Lewis underwent surgery later that day, but he didn’t discover that a slightly-altered version of his story had spread until Monday.
“Are you kidding me?” Lewis said. “It was so ridiculous. I thought the whole story sounded almost too fake to show up on the news.”
The shock-factor of his initially reported story led it to go viral, and it circulated in Christian hip-hop circles in particular because the most-used image of Lewis displayed a 116 tattoo on his arm.
“Basically, I just got the 116 tattoo for the purpose of being unashamed of the gospel and furthering the message of the gospel,” Lewis said. “It has struck up a ton of conversations with people I meet because it’s a cool-looking tattoo that no one knows about, so people will ask, ‘Oh, what’s that on your arm?’ And then I can jump on the opportunity to share Jesus with them.”
Lewis, a sophomore biblical and theological studies major at Boyce College, said he was introduced to the 116 Clique in eighth or ninth grade through Lecrae’s 2006 hit “Jesus Muzik.”
“I had that thing on repeat for weeks,” he said, “and then I found out there was more Christian rap to get into, so I thought I was like the coolest person in the streets ever for having it.”
Yesterday, Lewis received encouragement from members of Reach Records. Lecrae shared his story on social media, and Alex Medina, Reach’s creative director and a Boyce alumnus, reached out to Lewis on Facebook. Considering that Lewis said he had bought every Reach album since when he first heard “Jesus Muzik,” these gestures were appreciated.
Make a donation to Lewis’ family here.