Thus begins (maybe) a magical story of charity and pasta

By Alex Heigl
Updated December 01, 2014 04:20 PM
Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty

“I was sitting at work one day reading and I came across an article about Olive Garden selling a Never Ending Pasta Pass for $100 which entitled the bearer to unlimited pasta for 7 weeks.”

Thus begins a magical story of charity and pasta. (Maybe.)

Matt Tribe lives in Ogden, Utah. He was one of the lucky ones who snagged the limited edition unlimited pasta pass from Olive Garden, which he promptly used by driving around the Ogden area giving away pasta to the area’s hungry. His blog, Random Acts of Pasta, chronicles his time as a carb-laden bringer of happiness.

Here’s a highlight:
“I was cruising around looking for someone homeless that I could give some pasta to. I finally found one sleeping in a park. I debated on whether or not it would be a good idea to wake her up, but in the end I decided to do it. I approached her and asked if she was hungry and would like some Olive Garden. She thanked me for the pasta and said she was going to share it with her friends. First of all, the initial thought of someone who has nothing was to share it with someone else – that’s pretty incredible.”

Tribe’s video has of course gone viral, thanks in large part to coverage from outlets like PEOPLE. But many others have voiced doubts that the video’s veracity: With that whole “Drunk Girl in Public” hoax fresh in the Internet’s mind, people on YouTube and Reddit are already calling this whole thing a well-engineered piece of viral marketing.

Olive Garden, for their part, is denying any involvement beyond furnishing the pass to Tribe:

Update: Olive Garden has reached out and provided the following statement to us:
“We applaud Matt for his generous use of the Pasta Pass, but our only role was selling it to him and happily fulfilling each one of his orders. We’re proud to play a small part in his powerful story, as it aligns with our harvest program, which allowed us to donate more than 4.2 million meals to local food banks last year.”

What do you think? Case of well-shot, curiously brand-forward charity, or crass attempt at manipulating the tenor of the Internet to sell chain-quality Italian food? (We’d really like to hear from Marilyn Hagerty.)

Of course, maybe the providence of this clip is beside the point, if some hungry people actually got fed. Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

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