As the year came to a close, high spirits flowed through Mario’s Pizza, located in Northampton, Massachusetts. The pizza shop has been making pizzas for more than 43 years and has customers coming back, time after time.
Giovanni Aiello, a co-owner of the restaurant, says there’s something special in the recipe that comes with every pizza – wide smiles and lots of love. In these good spirits, the owners of the restaurant decided to hold a contest for free pizza for an entire year. It was a way to give back to the customers who had been supporting them for years. However, what followed left many in awe, especially the owners.
Giuseppe Aiello, Giovanni’s son, recalls his thoughts shortly after the contest.
“I thought [after] someone would win and they’d be excited, come in and get their pizzas, but a story like this to come out of a contest like that,” Giuseppe said in an interview with WFMZ.
Out of the 1,200 people that entered the contest, the name ‘Josh Katrick’ was randomly selected. Josh, if anyone, was the one who needed some good news.
Josh Katrick was diagnosed with colon cancer easier that year, and was leaving the chemo treatment center when he got the news. He was more than excited. However, it wasn’t because he was going to be eating pizza all year long, but rather what he could do with it.
Josh wrote back to Mario’s Pizza asking if he could give his year of free pizza away. When the owners asked who, Josh simply replied ‘the Northampton Food Bank.’
“I’ve been getting so much [support] from family, friends, people I don’t even know well… I just wanted to give back to people that could use it more than I could,” Josh said.
The owners were moved by the selfless gesture. In the good spirits they’re known so well for, they decided to not only fulfill his wish, but to also maintain their promise of giving him free pizza for a full year.
Thanks to Josh’s big heart, he and the Northampton food bank won’t have to worry about pizza for a long time. Since then, Josh underwent surgery, and is doing much better now.
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