It's late. Maybe you've been out with friends at a movie or sporting event or just gotten done working your second-shift job. You're a little tired and a lot hungry.
You find an all-night restaurant and slide into a booth.
Five minutes pass. Then 10. You think about leaving, but the alternatives are few. It's crowded, so you figure the waiter or waitress will be by soon. But another 10 minutes pass and you're still waiting to order and all you see is the same person frantically moving about the restaurant.
By now, some customers would have raised their voices, if not created a public scene. Certainly snark on social media would be acceptable, right?
And us? What would we do?
Answer honestly: Would we be complainers or helpers?
This theoretical situation occurred last week at a Waffle House in Alabama.
Because of a scheduling mix-up (at least that's what management says happened), one employee was left after midnight to handle taking order, cooking and serving food, clearing tables, washing dishes and handling the cash register.
An overwhelmed worker named Ben.
"The look on his face was maybe fear, maybe shock, maybe bewilderment," Ethan Crispo told the Washington Post a few days later. He was among about 30 guests at the restaurant about 12:30 a.m., when things began to unravel.
It's also when Crispo saw Ben talking to a customer, a man in a blue shirt, seated at the counter. Ben then handed an apron to the man, who started washing dishes.
"It was a kind stranger. A man who answered the call," Crispo said. The man, who as of two days ago remained unidentified, cleared tables and washed and stacked dishes.
According to another media report of what transpired, a woman in a strapless dress and high heels then volunteered to help.
"And she's walking around behind the counter, and I could tell she certainly didn't come from food service," Crispo said. "It was almost comical, here's this pretty woman in heels and a dress ... just trying to help, and the next thing you know she's stacking cups and running orders and busing tables."
At least one other customer also volunteered by the time Crispo left.
According to the Washington Post report, Crispo said he eats at that Waffle House about once a month. He said he asked Ben why he didn't simply walk out.
Ben replied: "It's not the right thing to do."
Maybe jumping behind a counter to make and pour coffee or rolling up our sleeves to wash someone else's grimy and sticky dishes isn't our idea of a good time. Nevertheless, this tale gives us an opportunity to reflect on ourselves and consider what kinds of things we are willing to do to help someone out of a jam, someone crying out for help even if that person isn't saying a word.
Answer honestly: Are we willing to grab an apron on someone else's tough day?
©2019 The Repository, Canton, Ohio
Visit The Repository, Canton, Ohio at www.cantonrep.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.