This article is over 5 years old


As S.C. Waffle House Worker Sleeps, Customer Mans The Grill

Alex Bowen of West Columbia said he didn’t want to rouse the worker and got to work himself, documenting the caper in a series of selfies posted to social media


Alex Bowen poses in front of a griddle at a Waffle House in West Columbia, S.C., on Thursday. When Bowen found the only worker at the empty restaurant asleep, he took his meal into his own hands.

After a night of drinking, South Carolina man Alex Bowen couldn’t sleep and decided to get something to eat early Thursday. The Waffle House in West Columbia, S.C., fit the bill, so he stepped inside and waited 10 minutes at the register, but still nobody attended to him, he tells local news station WIS-TV.

That was when he realized there was an employee there, the worker just happened to be fast asleep in a corner booth. And Bowen didn’t waffle.

“They looked tired, Bowen tells WOLO-TV, an ABC affiliate in Columbia, “I was like, ‘go ahead and rest fam, I got this.'”

A series of selfies posted to his Facebook page chronicle what Bowen did next, going behind the counter and getting to work on his own meal.

Apparently a Waffle House regular, he knew just what he wanted and what went into it.

“Got hot on the grill with a double Texas bacon cheesesteak melt with extra pickles,” Bowen tells WIS-TV. “When I was done I cleaned the grill, collected my ill-gotten sandwich and rolled on out.”

Bowen admits he wouldn’t have been so brazen if not for the vodka. And while he didn’t initially leave money for the food, he did return later that day delivering $5, WIS-TV reports.

Waffle House released a statement to the station saying the sleeping employee has been suspended for one week.

Waffle House, a popular chain throughout the southern United States, prides itself on remaining open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Its service is, in fact, so reliable that emergency officials have reportedly developed something called The Waffle House Index, which measures the severity of a storm based on whether Waffle House stays open; if one shuts down — that’s when you know things are bad.

Bowen, an army veteran who now works as a flooring installer tells WOLO-TV, he never expected the Facebook post of his escapade to go viral (it had more than 5,000 shares on Tuesday.)

“I’m a bit overwhelmed with calls, and emails and messages,” he says.

Even Waffle House is reaching out.

While the company did say customers should never go behind the counter for safety reasons, they are not holding it against Bowen.

“Obviously Alex has some cooking skills, and we’d like to talk to him about a job since we may have something for him,” Waffle House said.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit
Today in Houston Newsletter Signup
We're in the process of transitioning services for our Today in Houston newsletter. If you'd like to sign up now, fill out the form below and we will add you as soon as we finish the transition. **Please note** If you are already signed up for the newsletter, you do not need to sign up again. Your subscription will be migrated over.