A uniformed police officer hoping to grab a celebratory birthday lunch with his family was kicked-out of an Olive Garden on Sunday for carrying his police-issued gun.
And now the restaurant chain has apologized.
Kansas City officer Michael Holsworth was on-duty and wearing his uniform when he visited an Olive Garden looking to celebrate his birthday with his family, according to his Facebook page. But while he waited to be seated, the hostess saw the officer’s duty firearm and told him to immediately leave. According to the hostess, guns aren’t tolerated in the restaurant — even for on-duty cops.
After getting kicked out, Holsworth took to Facebook and publicly decried the situation. The post has since gone viral with over 10,000 shares and received overwhelming support from the public. (RELATED: Arby’s Stilling Paying Employee Who Allegedly Refused To Serve Police Officer)
“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,” he wrote on his Facebook page, and urged others to share his post.
In the state of Missouri it is legal for private citizens to openly carry handguns, let alone uniformed cops carrying police-issued weapons.
“I never believed I would be asked to leave a public restaurant because I was in full police uniform which requires me to carry my duty weapon. It is my hope that Olive Garden handles this situation appropriately so no other officer has the same experience I had today,” Holsworth said in a statement.
Olive Garden apologized to Holsworth, with a quick Tweet saying the situation was a “misunderstanding.” The New York Daily News reported Olive Garden’s president, Dave George, also personally apologized to the Holsworth. It has not been reported, however, if the hostess was reprimanded for her treatment of the officer.
Holsworth also received adamant support from his fellow officers, including Kansas City Police President Brad Lemon who wrote on Twitter urging Olive Garden, as well as the general public, to treat police officers with more respect.
“It’s been an incredibly difficult day for our brother, and our entire family. All we ever ask is to be treated fairly and with the same respect to due anyone else. When we are treated poorly because of our chosen occupation, it hurts,” Lemon wrote in a Facebook post according the New York Daily News.