Photos of restaurant receipts showing bad tippers and rude notes customer leave for waiters are known to cause controversy, but a heartwarming viral photo of a restaurant giving back to a family in need has people singing a different tune.
Seth McClure of DeKalb, Ill., posted a picture from his family's recent trip to Olive Garden Saturday on Reddit of a meal that was supposed to cost $48 dollars, showing a total of $0.
“My brother, wife, 3-year-old daughter and I went to Olive Garden after a recent house fire at my parents,” said McClure. “When the manager asked how everything was my daughter said, ‘Grandpa’s house burned down.’ Here is how we received our check …”
The photo currently has over 1.1 million views since it was uploaded Wednesday.
The lucky recipient said he was shocked by the number of responses to his story. While the majority were positive, he admitted some comments were negative, accusing him of being a paid sponsor for the Italian restaurant chain and a “corporate shrill.”
“I got a few dozen messages calling me names … a few wishing me a painful death,” said McClure, who added he is hoping the manager won’t take the heat for the viral receipt.
“He asked a couple of details like where it happened, when, and if my family had somewhere to stay. I did not expect the bill to get paid, but it was very nice of them!” he said. “My story is real, and I hope that it has not negatively impacted Olive Garden. What they did was very kind for my family, and they don't deserve any of this negative feedback.”
In lieu of getting a free meal, McClure said he did leave a $20 tip.
“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,” a rep from Olive Garden’s parent company, Darden Tara Gray, told the Huffington Post Wednesday.
The fire occurred at McClure’s parent’s home in Prarie View, Ill., on March 7. Jim McClure was removed safely from the home; Renee “Nene” McClure suffered from a broken shoulderbone and was hospitalized for several weeks. The home is currently is a state of disrepair, with the couple living in an extended stay hotel, but McClure said that the fire was ultimately a blessing.
“While in the hospital they discovered a problem with her trache, which had it [not] been discovered at the house, would have almost certainly caused her to die. In a way, the fire saved her life,” he said.