It was late at night, and Ethan Crispo was just one of the hungry customers to sit down inside a Waffle House in Birmingham, Alabama.
But to Crispo’s dismay, the Waffle House was terribly understaffed. Taking a look around the restaurant, Crispo could count just one employee, overwhelmed at the prospect of running the restaurant solo.
Waffle House is known to not close for anything – even if there’s only one worker behind the counter. https://t.co/rbfuRFHIjc
— WHNT News 19 (@whnt) November 9, 2019
“I’ve just sat down at my table and it’s becoming clear I’ll be going home with an empty stomach,” Crispo wrote in an email to AL.com.
But before Crispo fell into a breakfast crisis despair, a stranger stepped up to turn the night around.
“From the blue, a man from the bar stands up. Asks Ben for an apron, and begins to work behind the counter,” Crispo wrote.
Based on the man’s natural working ability, Crispo figured he was a Waffle House employee.
“It was a transition so smooth I initially assumed it was a staff member returning to their shift. It wasn’t,” Crispo wrote. “It was a kind stranger. A man who answered the call. Bussed tables, did dishes, stacked plates.”
“Humanity isn’t just good,” he said. “It’s great.”
Covered: Waffle House customers step in to fill gap at Birmingham restaurant https://t.co/wp1DjvTiuV
— Izzy Gould (@IzzyGould) November 8, 2019
Before long, a second customer stood up to help, a woman Crispo described as wearing a dress and heels. She started taking orders and bussing tables, stacking cups in the process.
“It was the most fascinating thing,” Crispo said. “It was just one of the most wild instances of really, really cool people just coming together.”
While the mystery strangers saved the night, Pat Warner, Waffle House director of public relations and external affairs, would rather have seen the restaurant properly staffed.
According to AL.com, the associates scheduled to work the second half of that night’s shift failed to show up. Warner was appreciative of the way customers came together to help the lone employee who spent his shift cooking for hungry customers.
“We really appreciate their efforts, though we do prefer our associates to be behind the counter,” Warner told AL.com. “The key to our concept is we’re there to serve you, not the other way around.”
But the unity and camaraderie that Crispo witnessed restored his faith in the good part’s of humanity.
“Humanity isn’t just good,” Crispo said. “It’s great.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.