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Customers jump behind the counter to help the understaffed waffle house




BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Late last Saturday night, Ethan Crispo had just left a friend's birthday party in Birmingham, Alabama, and went into a waffle house around midnight to grab a snack.

Crispo told CNN that only a single employee worked in the restaurant.

He described the chef's face as "washed in confusion" when he found that he himself controlled the night shift.

More than 30 people were there eating, and there was only one man left to "stave off the incoming audience of hungry, highly impressed customers," Crispo said.

He was terminated to go home on an empty stomach.

But a customer ended the meal, asked for an apron and went behind the counter to wash the dishes.

"It was a smooth transition," said Crispo, 24. "He just brushed his butt and helped."

& # 39; It was one of my most memorable experiences & # 39;

Crispo said he asked Ben, the lone colleague who worked, who the man who was washing the dishes was.

It turns out that he did not work at the restaurant, nor did he work at a waffle house anywhere.

Another woman, who was wearing a dress and heels, also went up. She went behind the counter to get a coffee pot.

"At first, I thought it was necessary, like she just wanted coffee," Crispo said. But she enlisted as another member of the volunteer staff.

The two worked together in a team, busing tables, stacking cups and washing the dishes. Meanwhile, Ben, the actual staff, staffed the cash register and cooked at the grill.

The man who washes dishes occasionally "had to ask Ben where things were going," Crispo said, but otherwise it was as if two strangers, without even talking to each other, had spontaneously learned to run a restaurant in tandem.

Pat Warner, a spokesman for Waffle House, told CNN that the store had miscommunicated the watchlist that night, and it had created "a small gap" in staffing.

"We are very grateful and grateful, but we prefer to have our colleagues behind the counter," Warner said.

He added that Waffle House restaurants have a special sense of community. He remembered a similar time in 201

4 when diners volunteered to keep a restaurant running when paid staff couldn't get to work during Atlanta's notorious Snowmageddon storm.

But for Crispo it was the first time, and it will stick to him for many years to come, as an example of humanity at its best.

"I've never seen anything like that ever happened, and I won't again," Crispo said. "It was one of my most memorable experiences."

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2019 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner company. All rights reserved.


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