The restaurant chain Chili’s has come under serious fire on social media for the actions of one of its store managers.
In Cedar Hill, Texas, Army veteran Ernest Walker went to his local Chili’s to receive a free meal on Veterans Day. The manager of that store took his meal from him, according to AP.
The incident began when an elderly white veteran questioned Walker, who is black, about his service.
“(He) asked me what unit did I serve in, the 24th. I said no, the 25th. He said he was in World War II in Germany and we did not see people like you over there,” Walker wrote, according to USA Today. “They would not allow blacks.” Never mind that Walker served long after the armed forces were integrated.
Walker took the racism in stride, ignoring it and patiently waiting for his food. However, when the waitress began to package his meal, the manager approached him.
“The manager comes and says some guests at the restaurant say that you’re not a real soldier. I reply, ‘What, are you serious? What guest?’ The manager, Wesley Patrick, said, ‘Can I see military ID?’ I felt that was reasonable, most people ask for that, so I showed him my ID. It checked out,” Walker continued.
Walker, who had a service dog accompanying him, was questioned about his animal, and according to USA Today the situation escalated until the manager took the meal away from him.
Chili’s corporate is, of course, very embarrassed.
“We are aware of the situation that occurred at our Chili’s Cedar Hill restaurant on Nov.11. Our goal is to make every guest feel special, and unfortunately we fell short on a day where we serve more than 180,000 free meals as a small token to honor our veterans and active military for their service, hence these actions do not reflect the beliefs of our brand,” the company wrote in a statement.
It doesn’t really matter how many meals you serve if you take one meal away in such a fashion. That’s the one that will stand out.
— NAM_VET67 (@Vet67Nam) November 14, 2016
Veterans remain incensed.
— Jerrilynn Atherton (@JerrilynnA) November 14, 2016
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