BY MARC RAMIREZ
DALLAS MORNING NEWS
TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
Ernest Walker, the Army veteran whose free meal was taken away by a Chili’s restaurant manager who doubted his military service, has reached an agreement with Brinker International, the restaurant’s parent corporation, that includes a donation to an advocacy effort for veterans.
Walker went to a Chili’s in Cedar Hill, Texas, on Veterans Day to take up the restaurant’s offer of a free burger. He said a manager there wouldn’t accept proof of his military service after another customer questioned whether Walker had served because he is Black.
Walker said the manager also doubted the validity of his service dog.
As the veteran began recording the exchange on video with his cell phone, the manager grabbed Walker’s leftovers and walked away.
Chili’s apologized to Walker for his experience and placed the manager on leave. In addition to donating to Walker’s new veterans’ campaign, a separate donation to the Feed Our Vets organization will provide 100,000 meals to veterans in communities where homelessness and hunger are rising.
Walker’s effort, called Feed A Million Soldiers, aims to help veterans deal with the challenges they face as they move from military to civilian life.