(Meredith) -- Customers at an Alabama Waffle House jumped in to help an overwhelmed employee after noticing the restaurant was short-staffed. 

The server, identified as Ben, was the only employee on-duty at the Birmingham restaurant Saturday night, AL.com reported.

Ben had a lot on his plate until an unidentified customer decided to pitch in. The patron asked for an apron and then started washing dishes and bussing tables.

Another customer, Ethan Crispo, watched in awe.

"He just saw this other person in a bad spot and just jumped in," Crispo told AL.com. "It was a transition so smooth I initially assumed it was a staff member returning to their shift. It wasn’t. It was a kind stranger. A man who answered the call. Bussed tables, did dishes, stacked plates."

Crispo took a photo of the customer, who was wearing a blue T-shirt and jeans while working behind the counter as if it was no big deal. The good deed created a domino effect, with other customers pitching in to help Ben. 

Waffle House Director of PR and External Affairs Pat Warner told AL.com it appears there was some miscommunication over the schedule that night.

Some employees who were scheduled to work the first half of the shift left the restaurant as planned, but nobody arrived to cover the second half, which created a "little gap."

Warner said surveillance footage did show the mystery customer and a few other guests helping clean the restaurant while the lone server handled the orders and food prep.

“We really appreciate their efforts … though we do prefer our associates to be behind the counter,” Warner said. “The key to our concept is, we’re there to serve you, not the other way around.”

Copyright 2019 Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.

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