NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - John Sanfratello, the owner of Angelo's Pizza in Matawan, New Jersey, never thought that posting a short notice on social media about wanting to do something good for the community would take on a life of its own.
"So I put that up and I went to bed. And then in the morning, my phone is blowing up," Sanfratello told FOX 5 NY by phone. "I wondered, 'What is going on?' Missed calls, text messages, all this stuff. The page has all these comments and views."
Sanfratello was referring to the overwhelming response he got to a simple but brilliant idea that he turned into that offer on Facebook: "Anyone in the Matawan/Aberdeen area who has a missing pet can drop off flyers for us to place on all our pizza boxes. No charge."
Sanfratello said he thought of the idea when a local woman's cat ran away, and she needed help to spread the word about her missing fur baby. So rather than just hang one flyer in the pizzeria, he offered to put a notice on his pizza boxes. But before she could even bring him more copies of the flyer, her cat, named Hazel, was found.
Hazel's story ended well but that didn't mean Sanfratello wasn't on to something.
"We should make this available to the greater community," he said he realized that day.
Hence, the above-mentioned July 11 Facebook post, which Sanfratello said has reached 118,000 Facebook users in a week.
"This town is only 8,500 residents," he said. "It's getting shared and re-shared. It got picked up by government agencies, a local animal hospital, local advocacy groups for animals."
Angelo's Pizza has partnered with The Seeing Eye of Morristown to help find a German shepherd puppy that was set to begin guide dog training. The puppy, named Ondrea, has been missing from her volunteer family's home in Wantage since June 24.
Sanfratello said Ondrea's image has gone out on dozens of pizza boxes and hopefully, someone will find her so that she can fulfill her purpose of changing a blind person's life.
"It's really heartwarming to see that people have taken to this," Sanfratello said, adding that he hopes it inspires others.
"One of our goals is obviously to find missing pets," he said. "But one of our other goals is to get other businesses to do this."
Sanfratello doesn't care if they are his competitors or not. He just wants folks in the area to help each other. Perhaps that sense of community-as-family comes naturally to him.
After all, his name means "Saint Brother."