It was late, and it was cold.
Over the summer, a dear friend of mine, let’s call him Dusty, was enjoying a patented “All-Star Special,” complete with “smothered” and “covered” hash browns, at his local Waffle House.
The time was 2 a.m.
A large, burly man suddenly appeared, towering over Dusty, his body tattooed and dirty from years inside a prison cell. The man glared at Dusty, and his voice resonated throughout the restaurant.
“Hey,” the man said. “Are you the guy that took my mug shot when I went to jail?”
Dusty quivered as the man spoke but tried to keep calm. He grasped the pepper spray on his keychain with one hand while shoveling food into his mouth in an effort to appear confident.
Dusty struggled to find his courage, finally uttering a response.
“No,” Dusty said. “I’m just trying to eat my hash browns.”
If this type of encounter surprises you, then you’ve likely never set foot in a Waffle House.
America’s favorite late-night, binge-eating locale never fails to provide customers with not only delicious food but also lifelong memories forged during the early morning hours. When you enter a Waffle House, especially at night, expect the unexpected.
Almost anyone you ask has a Waffle House horror story. These terrifying tales mix delectable cuisine with spooky situations, crafting narratives that live in the hearts of Americans throughout the country.
One person told me that he saw a waitress engage in a fight with a man outside the restaurant when she rebuffed his advances. There’s even a Vine video that made its way across the internet that depicted two Waffle House employees scuffling behind the counter while a customer demanded a waffle.
Even I was thrust into freaky circumstances the last time I wandered into a Waffle House.
The Daily Beacon’s assistant sports editor, photo editor and I stopped at a Waffle House outside of Lexington, Kentucky. We were coming back from covering Tennessee’s loss to the Wildcats.
This event also took place at 2 a.m.
Coincidence? I think not.
We were just finishing up our meal when multiple police cars quickly pulled up outside the building. Officers exited the vehicles and began speaking with a woman; it was unclear what the topic of their conversation was.
By the time we left the restaurant and entered our car, the officers were back in their cars, sitting in them. Their vehicles were blocking our car in.
Suddenly, just as we started our car, the officers sped off without their lights on. The haste of their departures was noticeable and uncharacteristic of police vehicles without their emergency lights on.
What were the officers talking to the woman about? Why weren’t their lights on? Were they chasing a ghost that haunts every Waffle House across the country systemically at 2 a.m.?
Anything is possible. But whatever actually took place that night, or any other night, only one thing is for certain.
It happened at the Waffle House ...