In fact, it's been a bad enough week that before I get to what I want to spend most of the time on this week, I'm going to try to cheer myself up by giving out not one, not two, but three Hero Awards, which we give around here as the occasion arises to someone who just does the right thing on a matter big or small.
Our first hero this week is Matt Tribe of Ogden, Utah.
This past fall, Olive Garden ran this promo where for $100 you could get a "Never Ending Pasta Pass," with which you could eat as much pasta as you possibly could over the course of seven weeks.
Tribe got a pass and then figured he couldn't possibly eat that much pasta. So instead, he embarked on what he called Random Acts of Pasta. He went to different Olive Gardens several times a day, got a take-out order of pasta, and, quoting him,
I’d just go show up at someone’s house and brighten their life with some Olive Garden.By the end of the seven weeks, Tribe used the pass for himself 14 times, and was still able to feed 125 people - including at least 10 who were homeless.
Of course, no good deed goes unsuspected in our cynical age where it's considered the height of hipness to sneer at anything that smacks of unselfishness, so there are lots of people claiming this is just a marketing stunt by Olive Garden. Of course, like all good conspiracy notions, this one requires the perpetrator of the hoax - in this case, Olive Garden - to be both amazingly clever and rock-brained stupid in exactly the correct ways and measures needed to provide the "obvious" proof of the deviousness.
For his part, Matt Tribe responded to all the vituperation by tweeting
I genuinely wanted to do something nice for people and now everyone hates me. Half of the people call me a thief, half of the people say its PR from Olive Garden. I'm having a real hard time with it all.Not everyone, guy. I think you're a hero.
And you know what? If it turns out it was a marketing ploy, I don't care! It still means a bunch of hungry folks got a hot meal.
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