Unidentified man checks off item on David R. Henderson’s bucket list.

Crispo’s photos show a man in a blue shirt, working behind the counter as if it’s no big deal. Crispo didn’t get his name, but suspects he was a regular visitor to the restaurant. “He just saw this other person in a bad spot and just jumped in,” he said.

Responding to an inquiry from AL.com, Waffle House Director of PR and External Affairs Pat Warner said it appeared there’d been a little miscommunication over the duty roster that night. Some workers who’d been scheduled to work the first half of the shift left as planned, but nobody arrived to cover the second half. That created “a little gap,” Warner said.

He said that security camera footage did show that the mystery man and a couple other guests had washed dishes and bussed tables, while the lone associate handled the orders and the food prep.

This is from Lawrence Specker, “Covered: Waffle House customers step in to fill gap at Birmingham restaurant,” Alabama Life & Culture, November 7, 2019.

In the summer of 1967, at age 16, I ran the dishwashing machine at the Minaki Lodge for most of August. I had a blast. I still would have liked, though, and would still like, for a short time, to be a bus boy and maybe even a waiter. (Although don’t trust me as a server; I would probably drop that big tray more than once.)