Army veteran says free burger taken away by Chili's manager after service questioned
Cedar Hill - An army veteran says he was embarrassed and insulted when his free Veteran’s Day meal was taken away from him.
He recorded the interaction as a Chili’s manager in Cedar Hill questioned his service and took away his free burger.
U.S. Army Veteran Ernest Walker says he was 16 and homeless when he enlisted, and the military changed his life. He feels disrespected and wants the company to validate his service.
Walker says he and his service dog, Barack, went into Chili's in Cedar Hill for a free burger on Veteran's Day. He says his military service was questioned, and then this happened...
Manager: "I'm so sorry. You didn't provide any documents to me."
Walker: "Yes I did provide documents to you.”
Walker says a manager at the Chili's snatched his to-go box, saying Walker could not prove he is a veteran.
But Walker says he showed him his DD214 and his driver's license, which he also showed FOX 4 Sunday.
He believes it was another customer, an elderly white man, also a veteran, who doubted him.
"He said, 'Well, I was in World War II in Germany and they didn't have any blacks over there then.’ He's an older guy so I let that stuff go,” said Walker.
Moments later was the confrontation with the manager.
"He says that we have guests that say you are not a legitimate military veteran," said Walker.
Walker says the man who approached him first was wearing a Donald Trump campaign sticker. He feels it is no coincidence it happened days after Trump's election.
"I believe if it wasn't for the temperature of America right now, I believe that man would have never reacted that way, because I think he's probably a good person,” said Walker.
Walker posted the video to Facebook, and it's since gotten the attention of Chili's.
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.
Walker says he plans to file assault charges against the manager and says that manager needs to get some sensitivity training.