DULUTH, Ga. – Kid Rock caused a scene at a Waffle House on Tuesday, but this time it was on purpose.
The entertainer came to sign autographs for hundreds of fans during a fundraiser at a suburban Atlanta diner. The event came just a week after Kid Rock, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, pleaded not guilty to a charge of battery from a fight last fall at another Waffle House in metro Atlanta.
Waffle House spokeswoman Kelly Thrasher said the Atlanta-based company wanted to "take a negative situation and turn it into a positive situation."
Proceeds from the fundraiser were to go to Nicholas House, a homeless shelter for families in DeKalb County, where the 37-year-old entertainer was arrested last October following a fight with a customer. Ritchie was scheduled to serve food to customers at the Waffle House on Tuesday but changed plans when he realized he would only have time to sign autographs before leaving to prepare for his concert scheduled for later that evening at nearby Gwinnett Arena.
Ritchie said he wanted to make up for what happened in October.
"The whole situation before was kind of silly," he said as he signed autographs for fans. "We just thought after that unfortunate incident we'd try to do something silly but something more positive."
Ritchie, wearing his signature fedora instead of a paper Waffle House hat, said he wanted to give something back to Atlanta because its "always been good to me."
With posters, CDs, guitars and hats in hand, the line of Kid Rock fans snaked around the building for hours waiting for an autograph and photo with the so-called "hick-hop" star. One woman sang Kid Rock songs as she waited.
Some of the fans drove hundreds of miles to see him.
First in line were Ashley Miles, 21, a nurse from Morgantown, W. Va., and her mother, Terri Miles, from Maryland. They arrived at 8:30 p.m. Monday, set up chairs and waited all night for a chance to see the star.
"I love him, he is gorgeous," the daughter said.
Next in line were Alisha Mullen and her husband Wes Mullen, who arrived at 3:30 a.m. from Point Pleasant, W. Va. They brought their sons Carson Taylor, 7, and Brady Taylor, 10.
When asked what he would say to Kid Rock, Carson smiled and said, "I'm a cowboy, baby," mimicking Ritchie's hit song.
His mom couldn't speak after she met Ritchie because she was crying so hard.
Police say Ritchie's tour bus had stopped at another metro Atlanta Waffle House about 5 a.m. on Oct. 21 after his performance at The Tabernacle in downtown Atlanta. An exchange of words with a customer escalated into a fight that spilled from the restaurant out into the parking lot, police said.
At some point, the customer punched out a window in the restaurant, police said.
Officers took Ritchie and five members of his entourage into custody about a mile down the road after the group left the Waffle House.
It's not Ritchie's first public altercation. About a month before the Waffle House incident, he was cited in a police report for misdemeanor battery after he was accused of slapping and punching Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee at the MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas. Charges were never filed in the case.
Both musicians are ex-husbands of actress Pamela Anderson, who was a presenter at the show.