Flashback: 1990’s Dating Disaster- Shacking at the Waffle House

Now, this will date me a little, but I am not ashamed! Approximately 13 years ago while a University student in South Carolina, a girlfriend of mine, let’s call her “Susie,” experienced the most unbelievable set of circumstances after a night out on the town. The story goes like this:

A group of us girls were all out in a bar in Charleston, dancing, mingling and having a great time. Somewhere during the course of the evening Susie starts talking to this guy, dancing up a storm and eventually decides to leave with him. He is a young guy at a college bar, so she assumes that he is a student and lives nearby.

As they drive along in his car, it dawns on her that they are no longer in city limits, and instead driving out toward the burbs. Hmm, I guess he doesn’t live in Charleston? This is just starting to dawn on her, as he begins to slow down and turn on his turn signal. In the illumination of the headlights, she sees they are pulling into a trailer park. Oh wow. They enter the trailer, and as soon as she’s inside, makes a beeline to the restroom. She needs to collect her thoughts and figure out how to get out of there (Note: This is in the days before cell phones).

Sitting on the trailer toilet, she cannot believe the circumstance she’s in. Just then, she looks up and spots a familiar, but jarring pattern. Hanging on the back of the door- a full Waffle House uniform. Yes, it appears the guy she came home with is a Waffle House employee, something he most definitely concealed during their conversation at the “college” bar.

Just then there is a knock on the door. “Hold on a second!” she calls. In response she hears a gruff woman’s voice holler back two words, “MAMA’s SICK”. “Be right out!” she calls in shock. Once more, a bang on the door, Bang Bang Bang, and the gruff voice, “MAMA’s SICK.” Susie comes out of the bathroom to find an oversized woman who demands, “Who the hell are you?” “I came home with your son,” Susie responds, “but I was just about to leave. May I please use your phone?” The woman sizes up Susie and retorts, “You got a quarter?” Susie searches through her purse, but cannot find one. “It’ll cost you 25 cents to use my phone,” she orders. Susie does not have a quarter, so Mama tells her to get the hell out.

Susie exits the trailer, walks down the street and finds a place to sit on the curb, upset and completely unsure what to do. By this time it’s the middle of the night, she has no way to get home and there’s not a payphone in sight. Just then, a car pulls up. It’s the morning paper boy out delivering papers. He asks her if she needs help. BEYOND relieved Susie asks if he can give her a ride. “Sure thing,” he says, he just needs to finish his local paper route and then can drive her back into the city. This offer seems like a miracle, so she gets in the car and buckles her seatbelt.

It doesn’t take long into the ride before it becomes clear this is in fact a religious intervention of sorts- the young paper delivery man is a born-again-Christian and overjoyed to have an opportunity to preach the good word. He spends the next two hours delivering papers preaching to Susie about the Lord and why she should convert. Susie is dropped off back in Charleston just as the sun is rising. And you can be sure she NEVER thought so casually about going home with a stranger ever again.


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