47-year-old U.S. Army veteran Ernest Walker and his service dog, Barack, entered Chili's in Cedar Hill, Texas on Veteran's Day in the hopes of grabbing a burger after seeing the chain was advertising free meals for veterans.
According to Walker, the meal was going well and his waitress was "wonderful," but shortly after asking for a to-go box, he was approached by a man wearing a "Donald Trump shirt" who began questioning his service.
After Walker explained that he was in the 25th infantry division, the man said he served in Germany during World War II and that "we did not see people like you over there" because they would not allow blacks.
The manager then approached Walker and claimed another customer said he "wasn't a real soldier" and asked to see his military ID. The manager also claimed Walker's dog was not a service dog. Walker then started recording.
In the video, you can see the manager ask Walker to leave before taking his to-go box away from him—which Walker said left him feeling "grossly offended," "embarrassed," and "dehumanized."
Following the incident, Chili's released a statement to Fox 4 News saying, "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." Chili's has also apologized publicly on their Facebook page.
According to one source, Walker and his lawyer will be meeting with Brinker International, which is Chili's parent company, on Monday in the hopes that they will "make it clear that they don’t condone that type of behavior in their establishment."
There's no doubt tensions have been high since the results of the 2016 election were revealed, but Veterans Day offered a momentary reprieve. It was a day to honor all those who have served, a time to step back and appreciate anyone who has dedicated their time to protecting our country. Unfortunately, this was not the case for everyone.