Like some other establishments around the country, Chili’s offered free meals to veterans and active military service members on Veterans Day. Walker wrote on his Facebook page that he was eating at Chili’s with his service dog, Barack, when an elderly customer wearing a Trump shirt came up to him. “He said he was in Germany, and that they did not let Blacks serve over there,” Walker wrote.
Soon after, Walker said the restaurant’s manager approached him and said that a fellow customer said Walker was “not a real soldier because [he] had [his] hat on indoors.” He asked to see identification, and continued to question Walker. Eventually, he took his food away, even though Walker showed him his military ID and discharge paperwork.
Chili’s responded to critics calling for the manager to be fired on Facebook. The restaurant chain said it elevated the situation to the highest levels of the company, and “fell short” on its “goal to make every guest feel special.” The company also apologized in a prepared statement and said it was reaching out to Walker.
“I do believe that the election has changed the hearts and changed the motives of people so much so that he believed in his heart and mind after talking to the Trump supporter that I was stealing food,” Walker said.
Late Monday, Chili’s president Kelli Valade released a statement saying that the company had removed, though not fired, the manager who took away Walker’s food. The statement also said the restaurant chain had personally apologized to Walker.
“There are thousands of hungry Veterans that are Forgotten and Homeless,” he wrote. “So I challenge America to raise enough money to Feed A Million Soldiers.”
This story has been updated with new information about Chili’s apology to Walker and the removal of the manager who took away the veteran’s meal. The Huffington Post has also reached out to Walker for additional comment and will update this post accordingly.
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chilis-apologizes-veterans-day_us_58297fe7e4b0c4b63b0d47d1?