This past Saturday, I went into work and ended up working half of the day. Since, I didn’t totally prepare for working for such an extended amount of time, I was STARVING when I finally left!!!
I passed one restaurant after another but, none of them truly caught my attention. Until I saw… Waffle House. Normally, I take my Boyz with me but, I decided to go regardless of their attendance. And, what happened on this trip will stay with me forever.
Since, I was by myself, I chose to sit at the counter instead of a table. You see, when I pulled up there was a family getting out of their car and there was a LOT of them!!! So, I hurried in to get a seat but, I didn’t want to be rude by grabbing a table forcing them have to split up.
Sitting at the counter at Waffle House is really different. For one… You can see EVERYTHING that they are doing. And, secondly, they are RIGHT THERE in your face!!
But, enough about my oddities and how much I can’t stand people being too close to me especially while I eat, seeing how messy the kitchen was, and how the staff interacted with each other…
While I sat at the counter, I decided to leave my phone turned face down on the tabletop and just observe the happenings in the restaurant.
Part One: The old man…
An older gentleman came into the store with a bucket. When he saw me, he came over and said, “Hey brother, the church is having free dinner tonight. You oughtta come back and get you a plate!”
Being disinterested but, still being polite, I asked about where the church was and what was on the menu to which he replied quite gleefully.
Now, he asked one of the staff for some water to put in the bucket. The young lady was quite confused about his request and went for the manager to see if she was allowed to get it for him… the part that I didn’t know is that this man was homeless and has frequented this restaurant many times with “odd” requests like this one.
While the staff was conferencing about whether or not to get him water, he showed me the reason that he wanted the water… You see, he had a frog in his pocket. He simply wanted to give the frog a nice place to hangout.
Unfortunately, when the manager came back, the first thing that she saw was the bucket. And, the first thing that she said was, “Hey, is that MY bucket?! How are you going to steal my bucket then, come back and ask for water to put IN MY bucket?”
I did my best to contain my snickers but, this was starting to get good.
The man changed his request from water in the bucket to just a cup of water. Afterall, the frog was small and didn’t really need a lot. So, the manager asked him… Where’s your cup and I’ll give you the water.
Infuriated but such a dumb question, since he didn’t have a cup. He had a bucket. This same kind, gentleman, who only a few minutes prior, asked me to church began to swear at the manager and stormed out of the restaurant…
Part Two: Lovers Quarrel…
About ten mins passes by and I realized that the manager had taken a break and was returning from being outside. My guess is that she decided to supply the man with some water from the hose out back. But, just as she came in…
A young lady, probably in her mid to late 20s came in and got the attention of MY waitress who came over to the counter (two seats from me, if I may add) to greet her.
Well, she wasn’t there for a pleasure trip… She pulled a key out of her pocket, slammed it on the counter and exclaimed, “This is the house key! I’m leaving… Take care of my puppy!!”
All that my waitress could say was, “Where are you going?” And, the response, just as she hit the glass doors to leave the building was, “To my mother’s house…”
My ONLY question was / is, “Why did it have to be MY waitress?” After the young lady left, my waitress was COMPLETELY out of sorts. I bet if you would’ve asked her name, she’d have to look at her nametag and even then she wouldn’t have been able to read it!!!!
Part Three: The family…
Remember that family that I saw getting out of the car when I arrived? They took two tables… there was a total of nine people who exited that 4-door sedan. That right… NINE people got out of a vehicle that holds FIVE!!!! Yeah, YOU do the math… LOL
Besides the fact that they know the fine art of packing a car, this was the coolest family to watch!!
Did I happen mention that there were NINE people in this family? Can you tell me why I couldn’t tell if there were ANY people at those two tables? This was the quietest group of people that I’ve ever seen!!!
They were so quiet that I didn’t even hear the silverware touching the dishes!!! They barely spoke above a whisper. But, what made them fun to see was that ONE child that stood out from the bunch. And, literally, he STOOD out!!!
This child stood up EVERY time that he took a bite of food from his plate then sat back down to chew it. Do you realize how many times that your fork, or spoon, goes towards your plate? This child stood up EACH time!! When he took a bite of his bacon, he stood up, picked up the bacon, took a bite, put the bacon down then sat back down. When he got a fork full of eggs, he stood up, got the eggs, put them in his mouth, put the fork down, then sat back down. When he got his grits… I think you get the picture!!
I felt like I had completed a full workout just watching him!! And he did that from the time their food arrived until I left.
Part Four: The exit…
If you’ve ever been to any Waffle House in the country, they ALL have the same things. They are designed the exact same way. Sometimes, the staff may even look, or act, the same as the staff that you’ve seen in other locations. But, there was ONE thing that was noticeably missing from this trip to Waffle House… The Flies!!!
This was my first ever experience in Waffle House and I wasn’t fanning the flies away from my food!! It was soo noticeable that I actually asked to speak to the manager as I left.
• I commended her on the wait staff and how well they treated me.
• I acknowledged that I was eyeballing the cook as he cleaned he work area with his plastic gloves on and the FACT that I was waiting to see if he was going to keep those gloves on when he received the next order. And, how he put my mind at ease when he took off those gloves when he needed to start cooking.
Now, she brought up and apologized for the interaction with the old man. But, as a business, you have to set a particular environment for your paying customers and I get that.
Then, I told her about my flies experience and how much I appreciated that there weren’t any…
She kinda blushed and thanked me for noticing because she hates flies herself and really tries to keep a clean business…
The crazy part about this whole trip is that I would have missed all of these interactions, events, and things had I been distracted by my phone, talking to the people at my own table (if I would have gone with others), or just being oblivious to my surroundings.
Sometimes, it’s good just to be in the moment with the people who are around you. Take time and appreciate whoever that is… In church, we get so tired of turning to, touching, and telling our neighbor stuff that many tend to reject that still of preaching. But, there is power in paying attention to someone other than ourselves.
Since, having brunch that day, I have thought about the homeless old man with the frog, the quarreling couple who apparently broke up, the quiet family with the jumping bean son, and the cleanest Waffle House in America and I’ve said prayers for all of them… Why? Because they touched my life…
There’s a Nu Sound in the Air…