Scattered, Smothered, And Covered: Strangers Step Up To Help Lone Waffle House Employee Feed 30 Diners

Those familiar with Waffle House know that it’s usually hopping at night. But when one man walked in for a bite, he was confronted by a wild sight—at least thirty people eating and only one employee working.

Ethan Crisp0, 24, describes the lone employee’s face as “awash in bewilderment”—which is exactly how I’d feel when faced with the nighttime crowd of a restaurant known for their carbohydrates. The employee, Ben, was basically in charge of feeding a bunch of rowdy people at the end of their party night, making sure they paid him, and then cleaning up their mess.

Crispo read the room and figured he’d leave, but then something extraordinary occurred. A customer finished his meal, asked for an apron, and stepped behind the counter to help out Ben by washing dishes.

“It was a smooth transition,” said Crispo. “He just busted his butt and helped out.”

With the restaurant in relative chaos, another customer soon joined the first volunteer to help out by filling up customer coffee mugs throughout the restaurant. The pair then cleared tables and stacked dishes, which freed up Ben to cook and work the cash register. The man washing dishes occasionally “had to ask Ben where stuff should go,” Crispo said, but otherwise they kept things running as smoothly as could be expected given the circumstances.

Pat Warner, a spokesman for Waffle House, told CNN the store had a miscommunication about the roster that night, and it had created “a little gap” in staffing.

That’s not a little gap, Pat!

“We’re very appreciative and thankful, but we do prefer to have our associates behind the counter,” Warner said.

“I’ve never seen anything like this ever happen, nor will I again, probably,” Crispo said of the team effort. “It was one of my most memorable experiences.”

Patricia Grisafi

Written by Patricia Grisafi