Chili's Grill and Bar advertised free Veterans Day meals for service members. But not for black U.S. Army veteran Ernest Walker and his service dog Barack.
For his free meal on Veterans Day, Ernest Walker picked the Chili’s Grill and Bar in Cedar Hill tells Dallas News. The 47-year-old sat at a table and ordered a burger while his service dog Barack waited by his side. In a widely shared facebook post we can find that happened next:
“I ordered the waitress was wonderful. It took about 35 mins for meal to come. So when it attived I gave her a Tip as asjed for a take out.
She said sure, at that point a old white guy wearing a Trump flag shirt walked buy me on hi way to the bath room. He came back and aked me what unit did i serve in the 24th. I said no the 25th.
He said he was in world war 2 in Germany and we did not see people like you over there. They would no allow blacks.
I just listened he left then came back to bathroom again and pet my dog. So waitress put foid in container.
Then the managers comes and says a somes guest at the restaurant say that your not a real Soldier. I reply what are you serious what guest.
The manager Wesly Patrick said can I see military ID. I felt that was reasonable I most people ask for that so I shoed him my ID it checked out.
At that point all he should have said was ‘Sir I am sorry Thank you for your service and I would have left.
But instead ge says ‘ tbe guest also says that your service dog is not a service dog. Now that’s when igot upset and started Recording so see for yourself what happened”
Also there is a video of a confrontation with a manager who refused to honor the Veterans Day deal.
He elaborated in a follow-up post:
“I was approached by an old white guy, maybe in his 70s, with a Trump Shirt, at Chili’s on Veteran’s Day yesterday. He asked if I was in the 24th unit, and I said “no the 25th”. TRICK QUESTION. He said he was in Germany, and that they did not let Blacks serve over there. He left to the back, and came back and rubbed my dog Barack, who is a service dog. I was seated and eating my food. The waitress packed the rest of my food in a to go box because I had to go pick up my wife. I got my food and tipped the waitress. Then the Manager, MR. Wesley Patrick, comes from the same area in the back, walked up, and rudly informs me that a guest said that I was not a real soldier because I had my hat on indoors. Other guests heard him. He asked for my military ID, I was calm, and provided it to him. I also provided him with my DD214 which is my discharge paperwork. At that point he should have just said “I am sorry Sir, thank you for your service’ Instead he followed up with “the guest also said your dog is not a service dog.” Barack had his Red Service Vest on, and his Certified Service Tags. I was sitting for 35 minutes prior with Barack beforehand. At this point I was grossly offended embarrassed dehumanized and started Recording…Mr. Wesley snatched my food away, made body contact.”
Angry protestors gathered outside the restaurant was hardly what the Cedar Hill Chili’s expected after offering complimentary meals to veterans in honor of Veterans Day Friday.
Accourding to Boing Boing Chili’s apologized in a public statement and a meeting is planned with Walker and his attorney. A company spokesperson released this statement:
“Our goal is to make every guest feel special and, unfortunately, we fell short on a day where we serve free meals as a small token to honor our Veterans…We are taking this very seriously and the leaders in our company are actively involved with the goal of making it right.”
Walker’s attorney, Kim Cole, says she is meeting with Chili’s general counsel Monday, and one of the company’s attorneys has apologized.
“She felt really bad that Mr. Walker had this experience,” said Cole.
Dood news from Daily Mail Thousands of people offered their support for Walker on his Facebook page, with many soldiers saying they would boycott Chili’s in solidarity while hundreds excoriated Chili’s on its Facebook wall.
So far Chili’s has not issued word on what, if anything, will happen to the manager, but Walker says he needs to be ‘reprimanded or fired.’ This is the only fair treatment for people who hate their protectors because of the color of the skin. Veterans Day is the holiday which reminds us about veterans deeds, but we must respect them every single day in a year.