Waffle House Nightmares

I was driving in my car today with NPR playing as is my custom and I heard a news story about Dr. Martin Luther King’s daughter asking people to boycott Waffle House. I had missed the news the last few days and knew nothing of the two incidents of police arresting people at two different Waffle Houses, but I could have guessed it. See nothing good ever happens at a Waffle House after midnight.

My nightmares of Waffle House started my first year out of college when I sold Mail Opening machines. I had a five state territory, which included North Carolina, home of Waffle House. My s.o.b. boss would always pick Charlotte as the place he wanted to work with me because he loved Waffle House. Before I worked with him I had never even heard of a Waffle House.

Selling mail opening machines also meant training the customers how to use them when we installed new machines. Charlotte was a hub of banking, so I had plenty of good customers who ran our machines three shifts. That meant that I often had to go train people in the middle of the night. It was the second least glamorous part of my job.

The first least glamorous part was having to go to Waffle House with my boss at four in the morning after being up all night at a bank. Going to a Waffle House at that hour sober was an eye opening experience. You really get to see the under belly of America. Truck drivers, shift workers, people who shouldn’t be out driving, and cops, lots of cops.

I saw newlyweds, who just got married after one of them was released from prison that day, I think it was her, and people who were missing their important teeth. If I had a crystal ball when I was in boarding school and could have told my History teacher Rita Shay that I would one day be sitting in a Waffle House with my boss, who barely graduated from an unaccredited Christian college, but was my boss since his Dad owned the business, she would have told me to leave her class and not waste her fine education on anyone who one day would darken the door of a Waffle House.

I am happy to say that once I left that company I never had any reason to even drive by the parking lot of a Waffle House. I knew that nothing good could ever come from such a place, and not because they would scrape all the shit off the grill and it would land in the waffle irons. I knew that somehow you had to really hit rock bottom to consider eating at a Waffle House.

So that fact that they are making the national news for bad things happening there just isn’t news to me. I don’t know the details of these incidents, but Dr. King’s daughter might really be doing God’s work to save people by asking them to stop going to Waffle House.



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