Last night a heart-warming story appeared on Reddit, purportedly about an unnamed manager for Olive Garden providing a free meal to a family after their young daughter mentioned that her grandparents' house recently burned down. Accompanying the post was a picture of an Olive Garden receipt, showing that the manager had comped each item of the meal. Within hours the post received 8,744 up-votes and over 1,900 comments, reaching the front page of the mega-popular discussion forum.
Update: a representative of Olive Garden tells The Atlantic Wire that the receipt was genuine and not planted by a marketing firm:
The receipt is real and was posted by the guests, not by anyone at Olive Garden or Darden. We are always looking for ways to surprise and delight our guests, and this was one of the ways the Olive Garden team in Vernon Hills, Ill., did that last weekend.
Here’s another recent example from the Olive Garden in Lubbock, Texas, involving a soldier who was being deployed that was picked up organically by local media: Lubbock Restaurant in the Middle of Social Media Frenzy for Good Deed.
And on Wednesday afternoon, an employee at the Vernon Hills, Illinois, Olive Garden confirmed that the manager at the restaurant comped a meal for the family described in the Reddit post. "It's a fact," the employee, Patty Weaver, said.