Often when Waffle House makes the headlines, its for something bad that happened at one of the nation’s most popular restaurant franchises.
In the past year alone, Waffle House restaurants in the Midlands have been the locations of everything from late-night capers to disturbing acts and violent crimes.
It was easy to laugh when a Midlands man found the Waffle House staff sleeping and made his own meal. But there wasn’t anything funny about a registered sex offender exposing himself to a woman and her children at a Richland County Waffle House, or when a man was fatally shot when he tried to break up an argument between two men at a Columbia Waffle House.
In addition to those incidents, there have been reports of armed robberies, shootings, stabbings and more at Midlands Waffle House restaurants, or in their parking lots.
Because of those reports, Waffle House can get a bad rap. But it’s really a place that thousands of people in the Midlands, and traveling across South Carolina and well beyond, sit down for a fairly-priced meal at all hours, every day of the week.
In fact, Waffle House was among the few restaurants open for business on Christmas Day. That turned out to be a blessing for the people working at of one particular Waffle House.
Employees of a Waffle House in Ohio received a huge tip of more than $3,500 from churchgoers.
Apparently the generous tip came after the pastor at Grand Lake United Methodist Church in Celina, Ohio preached about generosity at Christmas.
The Rev. Mick Whistler challenged families in his congregation to set aside cash during the weeks before the holiday and then to bring five $1 bills on Christmas Eve for the tip.
This isn’t the only time that Waffle House employees have been substantially rewarded for their hard work.
In July, at a Waffle House in Charlotte, New Kids on the Block singer and actor Donnie Wahlberg left a $2,000tip for an $82.60 meal.
Wahlberg, who also stars in “Blue Bloods” on CBS, was in Charlotte for a concert and posted a photo of himself with staff members and the receipt. (The bill also covered orders for some companions at his table.)
“My mom waited tables, and my dad tended bars-- for years!” Wahlberg said in the post. “So, when I walk into a #WaffleHouse, and the staff treats me like a king, you better believe I treat them like queens! Thanks to the team at @wafflehouseofficial Charlotte, NC!”
This is not the first time Wahlberg has surprised Waffle House staff with a big tip.
Waffle House is an important part of many people’s lives. From its employees, to its regular customers to those who are desperate for something to eat and see the Waffle House sign as a glowing beacon, the restaurant is a Southern staple.
A Waffle House meal can be so important that those enjoying it can appreciate the small but versatile menu. Smothered and covered anyone?
That goes even when they’re not eating at the trademark compact diner.
That was the case for the South Carolina Gamecocks football team last February. Coach Will Muschamp rewarded his players during offseason workouts with a surprise Waffle House meal following a long season.
Muschamp teased upcoming conditioning in USC’s team meeting room, then revealed what was cooking upstairs: Waffle House breakfast.
So instead of bad news at Waffle House, 2017 shows it can be also be a positive experience.