It’s not unusual for military veterans to receive complementary treats on Veterans Day as a form of gratitude for all that they do for the nation. Sometimes, vets nab a cannoli or cookie and, other times, they are offered a complete meal. This year, Ernest Walker attempted to enjoy a free meal at his local Dallas-Fort Worth Chili’s (thankfully not the one that tried to launch ‘Sexy Cooks of Chili’s‘) and was served a giant helping of disrespect instead.
Walker asserts that a diner dressed in an American Flag shirt and flashing a Trump sticker approached him to ask a question. Walker’s truthful response didn’t satisfy the customer, who pursued the manager and alleged that Walker was not a genuine veteran. Shockingly, the manager confronted Walker loudly and publicly and questioned both his service — despite being provided with Walker’s military ID and discharge papers — and his service dog, Barack.
Refusing to let the outrageous act proceed without being documented, Walker busted out his phone and recorded a singularly unhelpful Chili’s manager refusing to answer any of Walker’s direct questions, before reaching out and snatching a Styrofoam take-out container from the vet’s hands. You go for a man’s dog and then his doggie bag?
The video went viral after being posted on Facebook (where it racked up hundreds of thousands of views), and has been picked up by both UK and US news agencies. This prompted Chili’s to issue a Facebook apology emphasizing the 180,000 free meals they served veterans, who left without being berated and robbed of their leftovers.
“Our goal is to make every guest feel special and unfortunately we fell short on a day where we serve more than 180,000 free meals as a small token to honor our Veterans and active military for their service, hence these actions do not reflect the beliefs of our brand.”
Viewers of the video were largely unimpressed and have pursued the matter through social media. Walker has meanwhile sought counsel and he is responding to the incident legally. The local CBS affiliate posted a video of Walker’s lawyer updating concerned parties about a meeting between the vet and Chili’s. The parties would like to avoid litigation and come to an agreement. The manager featured in the video was not present.