CEDAR HILL, Texas — The manager of a Chili’s restaurant who was seen on video taking away a veteran’s free Veterans Day meal has been “removed” from the job and placed on administrative leave, the president of the food chain said.
Chili’s President Kelli Valade said in a statement she personally apologized to Ernest Walker for the manager’s actions and thanked him for his service.
“We took swift action and immediately removed our manager from the restaurant. We are now in the process of working with Mr. Walker on a resolution that promotes trust and healing.”
Ernest Walker posted a video to Facebook on Friday of the manager removing his meal at a Chili’s in the Dallas suburb of Cedar Hill.
The Army veteran, who was with his service dog and wearing fatigues, wrote that the meal was taken away after another diner questioned the uniform Walker was wearing.
The restaurant manager approached Walker and said a customer had said Walker was “not a real soldier because he had his hat on indoors.”
Walker showed the manager his military identification and discharge papers, but the meal was still taken away.
Walker said he bought the fatigues he was wearing after he was discharged as a tribute to his service.
Lee Merritt, Walker's lawyer, said he met with executives from Chili's and they are working on the legal aspects of the incident. However, Merritt said Walker does not want the manager permanently fired.
“[He’s] not interested in seeing the young man fired; he didn't want to see anyone lose their job," Walker said during a press conference on Monday.