Two Women at a Busy Denny’s Rolled Up Their Sleeves When They Saw the Restaurant Was Short-Staffed
When Sylvia Arredondo and her mother, Idalia Merkel, decided to stop at Denny’s after going to a concert, they probably didn’t expect to spend the rest of their night working there, but that’s exactly what happened soon after they walked through the doors.
After visiting one Denny’s that was closed due to staffing issues, they found another one close by. The mother-daughter duo walked in and knew something was wrong when they were greeted by a customer who then seated them at a table. Looking around, they noticed the restaurant was only staffed by two Denny’s employees, a couple of college kids struggling to keep up with hungry customers, reports Upworthy.
The customer who seated them was there with his wife, who had previously worked at a Denny’s and was taking orders with a third unpaid customer while he worked up front as a host. He admitted that he had no idea what he was doing but still felt compelled to help.
Arredondo and Merkel then learned that the restaurant’s only front-of-house employee had tried and failed to contact their manager on numerous occasions that night. To make matters worse, the kitchen was staffed by one employee tasked with making all the orders.
“We just looked at each other and it wasn’t even a question. We both knew what we had to do,” Arredondo said to the outlet. The two women sprung into action, with Arredondo taking over as a waitress while her mother helped in the kitchen. On top of that, another couple started bussing tables and cleaning while another man went to the back and worked as a dishwasher.
Everyone involved admitted that they didn’t really know what they were doing, but were determined to help two employees who were trying their best to do their jobs. In a Facebook post she made soon after, Arredondo noted that not everyone got what they ordered and even remembered saying to one customer, “I know this is not what you ordered but it’s food, and if you’re hungry you’ll eat it!”
The makeshift staff worked until 3 a.m. before convincing the two employees to close the restaurant for the night. “This was probably the most beautiful act of American unity that I have personally encountered,” Arredondo said, proud of how the customers banded together to do what was right.
Stories like these are becoming more and more common as “the great resignation” continues to affect workers and businesses nationwide. But it’s to be expected when tipped employees — dealing with rude customers and bad managers — are paid an average of $2.13 an hour while relying on tips for the rest of their income.
Things get trickier at restaurants that pool their tips and divide them equally among employees based on hours worked. Although the intention is for everyone to get their fair share, that means employees don’t know what they’re taking home until the end of the night.
“The strength, courage and integrity by these two workers was beyond admirable. My mom and I have never been so proud and happy to help,” Arredondo said. “After all, we have all been there.” According to her Facebook post, Arredondo and Merkel decided to go home without making food for themselves.
Customers were hugging each other and the restaurant’s staff, congratulating each other on their ability to band together and help the two employees. Sure, the pair might have gone home hungry, but they can sleep soundly knowing they did all they could do to keep the restaurant running.
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