How A Waffle House Manager Made Sure An Employee Graduated

You're at a Waffle House with a sudden afternoon craving that has left you hungry for waffles and bacon — or perhaps it's a natural urge to visit your local Waffle House, as is present with all people. As you sit, deciding whether you should choose biscuits and gravy over grits, your server appears beside you. Rather than the standard Waffle House uniform, your server is wearing a full-blown graduation gown with a tasseled cap. They explain that they had to leave their graduation early to help fill in a shift as if this is no big deal. Either this is some hardcore love for Waffle House, or this kid is making some mean money to skip out on their graduation.

This outlandish scenario almost became reality for one Alabama Waffle House employee in 2021. As USA TODAY reports, Timothy Harrison showed up for his shift at his local Waffle House the same as any other day. Yet his co-workers and boss were shocked to see him here because it was the day of Harrison's high school graduation. He explained to his co-workers that not only did his mother have to work that day, but he also had no tickets or a cap and gown to wear since he had been working when they were handed out. With no other options, Harrison decided to show up to work and skip out on graduation.

But manager Cedric Hampton and Harrison's co-workers weren't going to let that happen, as WBRC 6 details.

Staff and customers pitched in to help the graduate

While Timothy Harrison's willingness to work may be commendable, his manager didn't want him to miss his own high school graduation. But without a car, cap, gown, or event tickets, what was the young man supposed to do? As WBRC 6 reports, the Center Point Waffle House pitched in to help Timothy out. Both customers and staff pitched in to buy him a set of nice clothes. The staff graciously took time out of their day to ensure Harrison looked clean and presentable. But perhaps the biggest concern would be getting Harrison to the school on time.

According to WVTM 13, Harrison's co-worker Shantana Blevins, with the speed of a veteran line cook whipping up hash browns, drove him across town to get him to his graduation, fortunately arriving before the graduation procession had ended. Shantana waited outside in the school parking lot while Timothy rightfully joined his classmates in graduation. Cedric Hampton explained to NPR that he was proud to see his employee complete such a milestone in his life.

"That's a milestone in someone's life that everyone should be able to celebrate," said Hampton. "I mean, he spent all that time going to school. Why should he not celebrate his graduation?" Although the chain is known for its food you can't deny that sometimes, the camaraderie and community is even more significant — like when Waffle House customers cooked their own food at a short-staffed restaurant.