Corporations are not generally known for having a heart, a soft side, or any semblance of a soul, but a picture of a Olive Garden receipt that has been making its way around the internet may offer proof of all three.
The story is believable enough. A father goes to Olive Garden over the weekend with his wife, brother, and 3-year-old daughter after his parents recently suffered from a house fire. A manager asks the family how they are doing, and the daughter says that her grandpa’s house burned down. When the family gets their receipt after their meal, they see that everything has been deducted. Their meal was free.
A Redditor named Tanek42 posted a picture of the receipt on Imgur early Wednesday morning. The image has since attracted over 800,000 views and prompted a full debate on Reddit.
Some point out the placement of the Olive Garden logo situated just behind the receipt. Convenient, right? The receipt is also labelled a duplicate, meaning that the receipt in the photo may belong to a member of the staff who wanted to throw a copy online. Other skeptics have pointed out the way the receipt is divided. Why would the little girl be given a separate check?
A Redditor with the name iworkinadvertising has gone on record claiming that the receipt is fake, all part of an elaborate plan to get advertisement on the cheap.
“That Olive Garden receipt is fake; it’s free advertising,” the Redditor claimed in a separate thread. “I know because I work in advertising and have spoken to the people who plan these campaigns.”
Their assertion has attracted over three thousand comments, many from people highly skeptical about the lack of evidence provided. Redditors have researched both usernames in search of anything that can prove either person right.
Consumerist reports that an Olive Garden representative has confirmed the receipt’s authenticity.
“The receipt is real and was posted by the guests, not by anyone at Olive Garden or Darden,” the representative told Consumerist. “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 is the photo of the Olive Garden receipt, which lists every item the family ordered: