The president of the Olive Garden restaurant chain has apologized to a Kansas City police officer after an employee asked him to leave because he was armed.
Officer Michael Holsworth says he was on duty and dressed in full uniform Sunday when he showed up at the Olive Garden in Independence, Missouri, to celebrate his birthday with his family.
While he was waiting on a bench for the rest of his family to arrive, one of the employees asked him to leave, saying guns were not allowed in the restaurant. Holsworth said he thought it was a joke, but when he asked whether the employee was serious, he said she replied, “Yes.”
He posted about the incident on Sunday on Facebook — and it quickly went viral.
Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police president Brad Lemon on Sunday evening tweeted about the incident, saying Olive Garden should be ashamed.
But Olive Garden responded, saying that the incident was a misunderstanding and that law enforcement officers are always welcome.
@FOPLemon This was a misunderstanding. Law enforcement are always welcome to dine w/ us—We ️❤️ serving them and have great relationships.
— Olive Garden (@olivegarden) October 11, 2015
Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté said via Twitter that he had spoken with one of the managers and that she was very concerned and said police officers are welcome there.
— chiefforte (@ChiefForte) October 11, 2015
About an hour after his initial tweet, Lemon posted a statement to the Kansas City FOP’s Facebook page, saying a spokesperson for the national chain called and offered an apology.
Olive Garden spokesman Rich Jeffers told The Kansas City Star that Olive Garden president Dave George also called Holsworth to offer him a sincere apology later Sunday.
“It’s unacceptable, that’s what it is. 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,” Jeffers said.