I increasingly find myself searching, usually in vain, for stories to reassure myself and Ethics Alarms readers that out society, in the words of the pious churchgoers of Rock Ridge, isn’t “turning into shit.” Here is story out of Alabama involving a Waffle House. I’ve never eaten at one, though there has been a Waffle Shop down Russell Road in Alexandria, VA, less than five minutes from my home by car, the entire 39 years I’ve lived here. The fact that its awning has misspelled “Waffle” with only one “f” for all that time is the reason: I figure that it you can’t spell your own specialty, I can’t trust you to make it right, either.
But I digress…
At a Birmingham, Alabama Waffle House on the morning of November second, an estimated 25 customers found that the restaurant had only a single employee named Ben on duty to serve the whole mob. Apparently there had been a scheduling snafu, leaving Ben with the responsibility of serving everybody. Said one witness to the scene, . “He was just staring at the room full of people. I can’t imagine what he was thinking.”
Then one customer who had been sitting at the bar, asked Ben what was going on and received the answer. He stood up, asked for an apron, and started washing dishes. A few minutes later a female customer left her table and began bussing those of other partons, taking and serving orders, and making coffee. Then a third customer joined the volunteer staff.
Ben was able to make it through the crisis without a riot , or a group of angry diners texting and tweeting their outrage to Yelp and the world. The emergency staff were all in good spirits, it was reported, singing and humming as did their jobs. “There was a real sense of community,” one onlooker said.
Pat Warner, director of PR and external affairs at Waffle House, praised the ethical patrons, and even suggested that the dishwasher apply for a job. He also added, “We appreciate the customers’ effort, however we prefer to have our associates behind the counter. Our concept works best when we serve the customer, not the other way around.”
I was dreading a nasty kicker to this story, like the union striking Waffle House or Ben being fired for allowing unauthorized personnel behind the counter. So far, there’s no hint of anything like that. This was the Golden Rule in full bloom.
This is the way America is supposed to be.
In the only sour note to the proceedings, the dish washer was accosted as he finally left the establishment and pushed because he was wearing a MAGA cap.