By Mike Pomranz
Updated January 16, 2015
Gluten-Free Pepperoni Pizza
Credit: © Kamran Siddiqi

The idea of “paying it forward” isn’t new, but when paying it forward involves something as delicious as pizza, now you have national news.

For the past year, Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Center City Philadelphia has been allowing patrons to turn an inexpensive lunch into a charitable affair. It began when a customer asked if he could buy a slice for a homeless person. Rosa’s is known for their affordable one dollar slices, so it was a small but kind gesture.

The owner, Mason Wartman, told NPR, “I took his dollar and ran out and got some Post-it notes and put one up to signify that a slice was purchased.”

Other people must have noticed that note, because the generous trend caught on. Over the past nine month, Wartman believes he’s sold 8,400 of the donated slices. (He had to give up the Post-it note system around slice number 500. Now you just let them know at the register that you’d like to buy someone a slice.)

This week, in true pay-it-forward fashion, good things have been coming back around. Wartman was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show where he was presented with a check for $10,000 to help his cause. That’s a lot of dollar slices. That exposure has helped send his story viral. Wartman hopes it will encourage other businesses to adopt similar food sharing programs.

Who says dollar pizza sucks?