CEDAR HILL, Texas (AP) — The parent company of Chili’s says it wants to make things right after a veteran had his free meal taken away on Veterans Day.
Ernest Walker posted a video to Facebook on Friday of a manager taking away his meal at a Chili’s in the Dallas suburb of Cedar Hill.
The Army vet writes that the meal was taken away after an elderly white man wearing a Donald Trump shirt raised questions about the uniform Walker was wearing and the man’s service dog, Barack.
“He said he was in Germany, and that they did not let Blacks serve over there,” Walker wrote in a Facebook post.
The elderly man also told the manager Barack was not an actual service dog.
Walker says the manager took his meal even after he showed him his military ID and discharge papers. In the video, the manager claims he didn’t see the documents.
Walker says he bought the fatigues he was wearing after he was discharged as a tribute to his service.
UPDATE: Chili’s President Kelli Valade has released a statement saying the manager has been let go:
Since we opened our doors, we’ve had one passion – to make people feel special. At Chili’s, it’s more than just about the food; it’s more than just about a meal. Every day we strive to create a great experience for you, your families and your friends. There are more than 100,000 of us working together to take care of our Guests, like no place else.
However, on Nov. 11, one of our restaurants failed to live up to our expectations and in doing so, we let down a valued Guest. Last week, Mr. Walker, a veteran, came into our restaurant to participate in our Chili’s program honoring veterans and active military with a free meal. Unfortunately, Mr. Walker was not treated in a manner our veterans deserve. On a day where we served more than 200,000 free meals as a small gesture of our appreciation for our veterans and active military for their service, we fell short.
Today, we personally apologized to Mr. Walker for the unfortunate experience in our restaurant on Veterans Day and thanked him for his service to our country. We also thanked him for taking the time to speak with us and he appreciated our apology. We took swift action and immediately removed our manager from the restaurant. We are now in the process of working with Mr. Walker on a resolution that promotes trust and healing.
We are committed to making this right because this is not representative of what Chili’s stands for, where every day, in every restaurant, we connect, serve and give to create the best life.
On behalf of our Team Members, I want to thank you for listening, acknowledging our apology and we look forward to making you feel special in our restaurants.