Whataburger officials responded to statements by Border Patrol agents that they were refused service in a Corpus Christi store because of their firearms by saying a store manager was “unable to identify the agents as law enforcement officials.” The agents said they were dressed in their uniforms that included a badge, Border Patrol patches, and a Border Patrol “tape” on their chest just below the badge. The agents said they were wearing their government-issued sidearms as required by regulations. Whataburger says there was no refusal of service.
Through their union officials with National Border Patrol Council Local 3307, the agents said they had just returned from Hurricane Maria relief efforts and the first thing they wanted was to eat at Whataburger.
“This was the first thing they wanted when they got back home.” Border Patrol Agent Chris Cabrera told Breitbart Texas in his role as president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307 that represents the agents in the Rio Grande Valley and southeast Texas. Cabrera said the four uniformed Border Patrol agents entered the Whataburger located at 6425 Weber in Corpus Christi, Texas, at about 11 p.m. on Wednesday. The agents approached the counter to place their order and were told by a male employee that they would have to remove their duty weapons in order to be served in the restaurant.
Cabrera said the agents were in full uniform, complete with their badge, Border Patrol patches, and other identifying insignia. He also said at least one of the agents presented his credentials to show he was a law enforcement agent. The agents told Cabrera Whataburger employees told them they could not be served unless they covered their firearms. The agents said they decided to leave because they are not allowed to remove or cover their sidearms.
Whataburger officials initially responded with the following statement:
Last night four men entered one of our Corpus Christi restaurants dressed in camouflage without any visible badges or identification. One was openly carrying a gun. The manager in charge explained that we do not allow open carry in our restaurants. At that point, the men stated they were Border Patrol officers, they became upset with our manager and they chose to leave. Had they shown their identification, we would have happily served them per our policy which allows law enforcement to open carry at our restaurants. We spoke to a Border Patrol representative after the incident and apologized for the misunderstanding. He explained that they are testing new uniforms.
Following this statement, Cabrera personally met with the agents and looked at the uniforms they said they wore that night. “There is no way that anyone could mistake them for anyone but a Border Patrol agent,” he explained. “It is a newer uniform, but that it is easily identifiable.”
Following further discussions between Breitbart Texas and Whataburger’s media consultants, the company issued an updated statement claiming there was no refusal to serve the agents.
Whataburger Corporate Communications states:
- This was a misunderstanding of our open carry policy where an employee was unable to identify agents as law enforcement officials based on what they were wearing.
- After thorough investigation confirmed by multiple witnesses, at no time was there a refusal of service.
- To make things right and continue to stand by law enforcement, we also connected directly with the agent to quickly and effectively resolve the situation and invite him back.
- The agent was appreciative of our time and said he is still a Whataburger fan – we’re on good terms with him.