Humanity in Action: Customers Help Out Lone Waffle House Employee Following Scheduling Snafu

Nick Kangadis | November 12, 2019
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As someone who has worked in a restaurant or two, I totally understand what it’s like to be shorthanded on a busy evening. It’s not fun, the service you typically want to give people suffers and some customers who don’t understand take it out on you. That’s why what happened in Alabama recently will restore your faith in a humanity, at least a little bit, if you’ve ever worked in a restaurant yourself.

Customer Ethan Crespo just wanted a waffle on November 2nd when he realized that there was only one Waffle House employee there to help and serve him. What he witnessed next surprised him.

“From the blue, a man from the bar stands up. Asks Ben for an apron, and begins to work behind the counter. It was a transition so smooth I initially assumed it was a staff member returning to their shift,” Crispo wrote in an e-mail, according to “It wasn’t. It was a kind stranger. A man who answered the call. Bussed tables, did dishes, stacked plates.”

Crespo inquired to Ben, the Waffle House employee, whether the older gentleman worked at that or any other Waffle House location. Ben told Crespo that he didn’t.

The gentleman was simply a nice man who saw a kid struggling and decided to help.

Another person, a woman in a high heels and a dress, also helped out Ben in his effort to serve the hungry customers that came in that evening.

“She’s in heels and a tight dress, she’d been to an event,” Crispo told “And she’s walking around behind the counter, and I could tell she certainly didn’t come from food service … It was almost comical, here’s this pretty woman in heels and a dress … just trying to help, and the next thing you know she’s stacking cups and running orders and bussing tables.”

It must’ve been a long night for the Waffle House employee, only known as Ben, and while Waffle House as a company certainly appreciates the help, they’d rather their customers be served instead of being involved in the service.

“We really appreciate their efforts, though we do prefer our associates to be behind the counter,” Waffle House Director of PR and External Affairs Pat Warner said. “The key to our concept is, we’re there to serve you, not the other way around.”

Crespo was impressed with the random acts of kindness.

“It was the most fascinating thing,” Crispo told by phone. “It was just one of the most wild instances of really, really cool people just coming together.”

And that’s what it’s about. Of course as an company you’d rather your customers not have to work. They came out to eat so they didn’t have to work. But, in extreme cases, instances like the one at this Birmingham, Ala. Waffle House it’s nice to know that people still care about other people.

“Humanity isn’t just good,” Crespo said. “It’s great.”

For pictures pertaining to this story, click here.