International pizza mix-up inspires pay-it-forward campaign in Lesser Slave Lake

Pizza being served to firefighters in San Antonio, Tex., after they were accidentally ordered by an Alberta firefighter after a phone number mix-up. Courtesy: Alex Pavcek

A phone number mix-up has evolved into a pay-it-forward campaign after a firefighter from Lesser Slave Lake, Alta., accidentally ordered a mass of pizzas from a restaurant in San Antonio, Tex., this week.

The Lesser Slave Lake Regional Fire Service was hosting a PTSD talk on Monday for first responders and decided to order pizza for those in attendance.

“I asked one of the firefighters to call our local pizza [place], Alimo’s Pizza. He Googled it on his phone. He’s new to the area and new to the department,” regional fire chief Alex Pavcek said.

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Firefighter Jordan Lampertz put in an order for 18 pizzas, but when a call back came to let the department know it was ready for pickup, the team realized it would have been quite the journey to get those pizzas.

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“He came to me and questioned why they were calling [him] from San Antonio,” Pavcek said. “I thought, ‘That’s not right.'”

It turned out Lampertz accidentally called Alamo Pizza in the southern state instead of Alimo’s Pizzeria in their community.

The firefighters got back in touch with the owner of the San Antonio restaurant and after some discussion, decided to send the pizzas to two nearby Texas fire stations.

“They accepted them very graciously, and asked where Slave Lake was,” Pavcek said.

Firefighters in San Antonio, Tex., received a special pizza delivery after a phone number mix-up. Courtesy: Alex Pavcek

Pavcek said the San Antonio restaurant heavily discounted the pizzas and the Lesser Slave Lake firefighters did get their own pizza in the end from their local restaurant.

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The Alberta restaurant owners said they had a laugh when they first heard the story, but then thought the mix-up was a good opportunity to do some good for the community.

“Everybody was talking about it, and sharing it,” Alimo’s Pizzeria co-owner Moe Mouallem said.

So the restaurant made a post on social media with the hashtag #RandomActsOfPizza, hoping to get people involved in a pay it forward campaign.

“Within a few minutes of posting, there were people saying, ‘I want to help, I want to send pizza,'” Mouallem said.

“Like [at] Tim Hortons, when a car will pay for the car behind them. Instead of paying for a $2 or $3 coffee, you’re paying for a $20 pizza.”
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Alimo’s Pizzeria has already received several hundred dollars to go back to the community in pizza form.

People can either specify where they’d like the pizzas to go or let the restaurant decide.

“We have a few [destinations] in mind,” Mouallem said. “I know we’re sending one to a secretary at the old folk’s home. I’m seeing if there are any other nominations, other than that, I’m just going to be driving around dropping them off at random places.”

“Going into fall, it’s the time a lot of people are down — the days are shorter, the weather is colder.”

Mouallem said the restaurant will continue the #RandomActsOfPizza push throughout the day Wednesday, and is considering making it a yearly event.


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