Christmas at the Waffle House

Patrons and employees enjoy a jolly good time

December 25, 2010|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Ron Benedict of Hagerstown laughs with Des Simmons, an employee at the Waffle House on Sharpsburg Pike in Hagerstown, Christmas Day.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The Waffle House on Sharpsburg Pike felt more like a home on Christmas Day as some families gathered at the restaurant to share their holiday breakfast.

Boonsboro resident Jill Selby said her family made Waffle House a part of its Christmas celebration about a decade ago.

“We come out for breakfast after we open our presents,” she said. “It’s the only place that’s open. They always treat us good. It’s sad they have to work, but I’m thankful they do.”

Waffle House District Manager John Strickland said the restaurant chain never closes. As a result, employees try to make working on Christmas as fun as possible by holding a gift exchange and doing other festive things.

“We do the best we can,” Strickland said. “This is really a good family. We spend a lot of time here together.”

Server Des Simmons said she has spent a good bit of her last two Christmases at Waffle House.

“It’s not so bad. We’re here to make the customers happy,” she said. “You gotta do what you gotta do these days. You gotta get what you can.”

A steady stream of diners flowed through the restaurant Saturday morning as a light snow fell outside. In some cases, employees and their regular customers exchanged Christmas cards.

Funkstown resident Ron Benedict said he has developed warm relationships with the Waffle House staff by having coffee there every morning. He and his wife, Barbara, brought Christmas cards to give their servers.

“We feel like these people are family,” Barbara Benedict said. “We exchange cards. These people are so nice. They make you come back.”

Server Brittney Banzhoff said she opened presents with her two young children on Friday because she had to work Christmas Day. Despite having to spend part of the day away from her family, she said she didn’t mind working the holiday.

“I feel good because everyone thanks you for working,” Banzhoff said. “Everyone is happy. I thought (business) would be dead, but we’re jumping and happy.”

Keedysville resident Fred Mongan said he eats at Waffle House at least six times a week. Mongan, who lives alone, said he likes to frequent the restaurant for the company.

“I talk a little bit of everything with the waitresses,” the 74-year-old Mongan said. “I tell them sometimes I’m 39. They’re nice here.”

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