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A Waffle House worker was left working alone — so customers jumped in to help

Customers started busing tables, washing dishes and making coffee to help an overwhelmed Waffle House employee stuck working a midnight shift by himself.
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/ Source: TODAY

An overwhelmed Waffle House employee who was trying to serve nearly 30 people by himself after midnight got a full serving of kindness when some customers jumped behind the counter to help him.

Ethan Crispo, 24, witnessed the uplifting scene in the early hours of Nov. 3 at a Waffle House in Birmingham, Alabama.

Crispo told TODAY's Kerry Sanders that he had come to the 24-hour restaurant from a friend's birthday party and saw the overwhelmed employee, identified only as Ben, trying to cook the food, serve it, bus tables and wash dishes while more than 25 people were waiting to eat.

"The look on his face was just bewilderment,'' Crispo told Sanders.

An unidentified customer was one of multiple people at an Alabama Waffle House who pitched in to help an overwhelmed cook who was stuck working by himself. Ethan Crispo

An unidentified male customer then decided to help him out, grabbing an apron and going behind the counter to wash dishes.

Another customer, Alison Stanley, went behind the counter to brew some coffee — in her stiletto heels and sequined dress.

"I don't think it's anything special,'' Stanley told Sanders. "He needed help, so I got up and helped out."

Crispo took some photos of the scene as multiple customers worked to bus tables and wash dishes while Ben focused on taking orders and preparing the food.

Waffle House told TODAY that Ben was left to fend for himself due to a scheduling issue.

"We had two associates scheduled to leave, however due to a communication mix-up, their relief did not show up promptly,'' Waffle House director of PR and external affairs Pat Warner said in a statement. "That left Ben, our cook, alone in the restaurant with hungry customers. He worked the grill and got the orders out."

The company was also thankful for the customers who pitched in to help.

"We are blessed that many of our customers feel like they are part of our Waffle House family," Warner said. "There is a sense of community in each and every one of our restaurants, and we appreciate the fact that they consider our associates like family.

"We are also very thankful for Ben, who kept the restaurant open. He is a testament to our Waffle House culture by always putting the customers first."

Crispo had his usual order, double plain waffle, as he took in the scene of strangers helping out Ben on his shift.

"Humanity truly isn't good, it's great!" he said.