Chili’s apologizes after manager takes vet’s meal
(CNN) — US Army veteran Ernest Walker went to his local Chili’s restaurant for a hamburger. Instead, he was denied a meal after an altercation over his service record. The chain has since apologized.
Chili’s has a policy of providing veterans a free meal every Veterans Day.
Walker said he was disrespected at the restaurant’s Cedar Hill, Texas, location when a man wearing a Donald Trump shirt interrupted his meal and challenged his service record, the veteran posted on his Facebook page.
“He said he was in Germany, and that they did not let blacks serve over there,” Walker said detailing what sparked Friday’s incident.
The man eventually got the restaurant manager involved. The manager, after an exchange, took the meal away. A video of the exchange was later posted online.
Chili’s issues apology
Chili’s issued a statement on Tuesday.
“On November 11, one of our restaurants failed to live up to our expectations and in doing so, we let down a valued guest,” the president of Chili’s Grill & Bar, Kelli Valade, said in an open letter. “Unfortunately, Mr. Walker was not treated in a manner our veterans deserve.”
Chili’s “personally apologized” to Walker for the “experience” and thanked him for his service.
Since the incident, the restaurant has “removed” the manager, the letter said.
Cell phone captures altercation
Moments into the video, Walker is seen flashing an identification card to the Chili’s manager.
“You’ve questioned my military service and now you’re questioning my service dog?” Walker repeatedly asks and talks over the the restaurant manager.
“Sir, you need to calm down,” the manager replies.
“I’ll leave as soon as you answer my two questions,” Walker says.
“No, I’m not answering your questions, I asked you not to record,” the manager responds.
“Did you see my military service?” Walker asks the manager again. The restaurant manager denies on camera that he saw Walker’s military service credentials.
“I’ll take your food away from you, sir,” the manager says.
“Oh, now you’re taking my food away from me?” Walker says in response.
“Sir, I’m so sorry, you didn’t provide any documents for me, you have a great day,” the manager replies. He takes Walker’s food off the table and walks away.
“Yes, I did provide documents to you, and they saw you,” Walker says.
Walker gets the last word in the video, “I want the police called at this point,” he says.
Walker’s initial accuser remains unidentified.
“I was grossly offended, embarrassed, dehumanized,” Walker posted of the incident. CNN has reached out to him for comment.