UPDATE: Justin Sikora, director of public relations and social media for Olive Garden, has sent us a statement responding to claims that the "Random Acts of Pasta" video is a viral marketing stunt.
"We're proud to be part of this powerful video, as it aligns with our harvest program, which allowed us to donate more than 4.2 million meals to local food banks last year," Sikora wrote. "However, our only role was selling Matt a Pasta Pass and happily fulfilling each one of his orders."
The holiday season has officially begun, which means we're all vulnerable to having our heartstrings pulled by sentimental stories. Well, some of us are, anyway. The folks over at Reddit, however, are really good at sniffing out a stunt while the rest of us fix our mascara and press our hands to our hearts.
Over the past day, Reddit commenters have been blowing open the heartwarming (or so we thought) "Random Acts of Pasta" video, in which a young Utah man feeds the homeless meals from Olive Garden.
The story goes that Matt Tribe paid $100 for the chain's Never-Ending Pasta Pass. Instead of inhaling fettucini alfredo and the best breadsticks of all time, he used the food to give the homeless a chance to enjoy a hot meal.
Here's the original video.
Pardon the pun, but it certainly is food for thought. Why didn't he post the video before the deal expired so that others could take part? Did he work the system, or is Olive Garden working us? Are we that naive, or is this all totally legit and we're just terrible people for doubting its veracity? So many questions. (Reddit)
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