On the list of bad looks in 2016, questioning a veteran about his service is probably up there near the top. So when I saw that my boyhood Chili’s was in the news for doing just that, I immediately questioned everything. And then I read the facts about what happened, and it’s soooo much worse.
To acknowledge Veteran’s Day, Chili’s offered free meals for military veterans. Great promo. A free meal at the original business closing spot is the least we can do. When Ernest Walker, a black military veteran, attempted to collect on the offer, he apparently had his service questioned by a guy in a Trump shirt who subsequently informed the manager, who then took action. This is where we’re at now.
Here’s the full post from Ernest’s Facebook:
Alright, where do we begin? Imagine you’re the manager of that Chili’s. There’s a pretty good chance you are aware that this is potentially a bad situation. It has all of the hallmarks of a viral Internet story in which you’re the bad guy: Veteran, camera phone, Trump, racial component, service dog. This isn’t going to end well for you. Even if you think there’s an issue with this guy’s story, or his dog, it’s really not worth it. It’s one free meal. You have to run a cost-benefit analysis of the situation. Facts. And when the guy shows you his military credentials, just apologize, offer to comp his meal and call it a day.
Oh, and it turns out he wasn’t lying. Walker served in the U.S. Army’s 25th Infantry Division from 1987-1991:
So this is naturally turned into a shit storm. Chili’s has issued this response:
Our goal is to make every guest feel special. Unfortunately, we fell short on a day that we strive to honor our Veterans and active military for their service. We have escalated this to the highest levels of our company.
Bad deal all around. Fun fact that I alluded to earlier, I grew up going to this Chili’s. I cut my teeth on chicken crispers there, and all jokes aside, it’s weird covering a story that makes you lose faith in humanity when it occurs in your backyard. Hopefully, Chili’s makes this right and Ernest Walker never has to pay for another meal at Chili’s again..
[via Fort Worth Star Telegram]