The Surprising Way Cracker Barrel Is Helping One Employee's Dream Come True

The restaurant industry has long been home to a diverse crew of workers, including so many hard-working, entertaining, and extremely talented people with skills that go well beyond restaurant duties. One Cracker Barrel server is a great example of this, recently showing off her talents with a show-stopping rendition of her singing "Happy Birthday" to a customer that has now gone viral on TikTok. 

Her name is Miranda Joy Willmore, and she has been working at the Cracker Barrel in Marion, Illinois for 20 years (via TODAY). When she's not serving tables though, she's part of a Southern rock band called U-Foria, with whom she's toured for the last four years. Thankfully the restaurant industry is known for offering flexible shifts that fit in well with entertainers who need time off to pursue their craft. And while the band has traveled the US, they had yet to be signed. But that all changed when Willmore was asked to appear on TODAY.

"Find this girl and make her famous"

When Cracker Barrel waitress Miranda Joy Willmore sang an incredible version of "Happy Birthday" to diner Jared Gravatt, he not only filmed the performance but put it on TikTok for the world to see. "TikTok find this girl and make her famous please. Best birthday song ever!!" he wrote. With currently more than 200,000 views, people were listening — and that audience included both "The Today Show" and Cracker Barrel too. 

Willmore was booked for an appearance on the morning program with Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager — and the waitress thought she was simply being asked on to perform her signature "Happy Birthday" for a TODAY colleague, but the show's hosts were able to give her an even bigger surprise: Cracker Barrel had decided to send Willmore and her band to Nashville to record an album on their dime.

Said the overwhelmed Willmore, wiping away tears, "That's so awesome."

The server says that while national fame is new, her local community already knows the songstress well and her co-workers have relied on her before. "The servers know that I can sing, so if they have a birthday, they ask me to sing for their table," Willmore said. We can only hope that audience will continue to expand as this sweet story helps share Willmore's talent far and wide. As for her style — she says her influences include Reba McEntire, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Shania Twain. 

Good luck Miranda Joy and crew!