On October 11 an Olive Garden restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri refused service to a uniformed police officer who walked into the business with his gun holstered on his hip.
The officer, Michael Holsworth, was meeting his family at the Italian restaurant to celebrate his birthday but everything changed when a female “employee asked him to leave the restaurant because he was carrying a firearm.”
Holsworth said he thought the employee was kidding at first, but when he asked if she was serious she confirmed that she was. So he left and posted a detailed description of being kicked out of Olive Garden to Facebook. Holswroth wrote:
So I was going to eat lunch with my family today (10-11-2015), we had decided to go to the Olive Garden in Independence off 40hwy and Noland Rd for my birthday lunch. They were running late getting there so I decided to go inside and wait for them. I walked in and sat down on a bench just inside the doors. As I was sitting there waiting, one of the employees told me ” Sir, we don’t allow guns in here.” Now mind you I am in full police uniform and on duty. 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”
Now I never in my wildest thoughts would of thought this would happen in the Kansas City area. I see it happening all over the United States to other officers but never thought it would of happened to me. Please share this post and let everyone know how this establishment is treating their local law enforcement.
Later in the day, Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police president Brad Lemon tweeted, “@OliveGarden Today a uniformed officer was told that he had to leave your Independence Mo store because he had a gun. You should be ashamed.”
About an hour after Lemon’s tweet a national spokesman with Olive Garden reached out and apologized for the incident. After talking to the spokesman, Lemon posted the following to the Kansas City FOP’s Facebook page:
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. He promised a full investigation and an appropriate response by their ownership. Our brother received a similar call tonight, and was offered a very sincere apology.
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. 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.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.