When it comes to late-night diners, nothing is more popular in the southern United States than Waffle House. The breakfast-food restaurant chain is so well known for its 24 hour service that the Federal Emergency management Agency (FEMA) has an informal disaster metric known as the Waffle House Index. “If you get there and the Waffle House is closed? That’s really bad,” a spokesperson said in an 2011 interview with The Wall Street Journal. But what do you do if Waffle House is open and the entire staff is asleep?
That’s conundrum Alex Bown of West Columbia, South Carolina faced this weekend when he stopped by his local Waffle House in the wee hours of Thursday morning. “It was around 3 a.m. I was pretty inebriated,” the 36-year-old Army combat medic told ABC News.
Bowen stood by the register for about 10 minutes before he realized something was wrong.
When no one came to take his order, Bowen looked around outside to see if the staff was on break. Finding no one, Bowen returned inside and decided to take matters into his own hands.
“That’s when I got hot on the grill with a Texas bacon cheesesteak melt,” Bowen said.
While cooking his food, Bowen found one employee asleep at a table in the diner’s back corner. “[The employee] didn’t wake up the entire time. And no one came inside the restaurant,” said Bowen.
He took a few photos and shared them on Facebook.
After making his meal, Bowen even cleaned up after himself. He admits that he initially left the store without paying, but changed his mind and paid his bill later that day.
His Facebook post quickly went viral and a Waffle house district manager contacted Bowen and asked him to become one of their secret shoppers. He also thanked Bowen for drawing their attention to a problem with the business.
After the story broke, Waffle House released the following statement, “For safety reasons, our customers should never have to go behind the counter. Rather, they should get a quality experience delivered by friendly associates. We are reviewing this incident and will take appropriate disciplinary action. In a related note, obviously Alex has some cooking skills, and we’d like to talk to him about a job since we may have something for him.”
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