- Olive Garden Facebook
Olive Garden is under fire after one of its restaurants refused to serve an on-duty police officer because he was carrying a gun.
Kansas City Police Officer Michael Holsworth says he went to Olive Garden on Sunday with his family to celebrate his birthday when an employee demanded that he leave because of his firearm, according to the Kansas City Star.
Holsworth was on duty and wearing his police uniform, he wrote on Facebook in a post that has been shared more than 12,000 times.
His family was late to arrive, so he was waiting for them at the front of the restaurant when an employee walked up to him and said, “Sir, we don’t allow guns in here,” according to Holsworth.
“I actually thought it was a joke at first, so I asked her, ‘Are you serious?'” he wrote. “She replied back with ‘Yes.’ So I told her, ‘Well, I can leave I guess.’ She then replied back, ‘Yes, please leave.'”
Olive Garden has since apologized for the incident.
“Officer Holsworth’s experience was unacceptable and completely inconsistent with how we treat members of law enforcement,” Olive Garden spokesman Rich Jeffers told Business Insider. “Police officers are always welcome at Olive Garden. They serve our communities, and we love serving them.”
Jeffers said the company’s president, Dave George, has personally called Holsworth to apologize.
The company has also reached out to Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police president Brad Lemon, who tweeted about the incident on Sunday evening and said the chain should be ashamed.
@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
— Brad Lemon (@FOPLemon) October 11, 2015
Here’s Holsworth’s Facebook post: