The president of the Olive Garden restaurant chain has apologized to a police officer after he was kicked out of a Missouri restaurant over his service gun.
Olive Garden President Dave George called and apologized to Kansas City Officer Michael Holsworth after he posted a message on Facebook, that quickly went viral, describing an incident on Sunday in which he was asked by a hostess to leave an Independence restaurant because of their policy against guns, the Kansas City Star reported.
“Now mind you I am in full police uniform and on duty,” Officer Holsworth recalled. “I actually thought it was a joke at first so I asked her, ‘Are you serious?’ She replied back with ‘Yes.’ So I told her, ‘Well I can leave I guess.’ She then replied back, ‘Yes please leave.’ “
Olive Garden spokesman Rich Jeffers called the employee’s mistake “unacceptable.”
“Olive Garden welcomes members of law enforcement all the time in the restaurants. We love serving them. They serve our community. The least we can do is provide them a great meal,” he told the Star.
Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté said via Twitter that he had spoken with one of the managers who insisted officers are welcome.
“I spoke with1of the managers @olivegarden. She was very concerned and shared POs are welcome there. Facts are being gathered,” he tweeted.
Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police President Brad Lemon, who initially condemned the restaurant chain for the mixup, posted a statement to the union’s Facebook page, saying a spokesperson for the national chain called him and Officer Holsworth separately to apologize.
“When we are treated poorly because of our chosen occupation, it hurts,” Mr. Lemon wrote. “This afternoon a spokesperson for the national chain called and offered a very heartfelt apology. I do not believe this issue occurred because of a company policy. This occurred because of a poor decision of one employee.”
“What I hope comes out of this event, and the others like this around our country, is that the narrative needs to change. It’s not okay to treat law enforcement poorly,” his statement continued. “We deserve, and have earned, the same level of respect due to each and every member of society. However, if a person or company, chooses to do otherwise we will not stay silent any longer.”