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Bird Road IHOP Slammed Yesterday During Free Pancake Day

Free flapjacks flew from the kitchen yesterday at the International House of Pancakes on Bird Road, near the Palmetto Expressway.

Every February, IHOP offers one day of free pancakes to benefit charity. Although the griddlecakes are gratis, donations are encouraged, and 100 percent of any funds received go to charity.

We strolled in last night shortly before 10 p.m. to see how many people were taking advantage of the freebie flapjacks. It was so busy we wound up staying and talking to several staff members to get the lowdown on free pancake day.

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Cherry, a server who has been with IHOP for 13 years, told us they had been swamped the entire day. "From 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., it was like this. Then when school let out, it started again and has been this way nonstop."

"This way" refers to there not being a single table available and a waiting list. Did they raise a lot for charity, though? "We had a lot of teenagers."

Even though the majority of patrons were flapjack freeloaders, the restaurant was able to raise some funds for Miami Children's Hospital. Jackeline DiPaola, who has been a server at the Bird Road IHOP for six months, said, "People were really nice and generous. They gave."

DiPaola has her own reasons for volunteering her time that day. She was donating her pay from 6 p.m. on to the hospital. "My son needed them a long time ago, and they helped us. This is my way of paying it back."

Most of the employees had been there since early in the morning. During our interviews, they were going on 15 hours of cooking, serving, and cleaning, but they believed all the toiling was worth it. "I used to work in the medical field," DiPaola said. "But I wanted to be surrounded by happy people. I like to feed people and put a smile on their face."

You do, Jackeline. Thanks.

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