INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (Oct. 12, 2015) – The president of Olive Garden personally apologized to an on-duty police officer who was told to leave a Missouri restaurant because of his gun.
The incident happened in Independence, Mo., on Sunday, according to WDAF. Kansas City police officer Michael Holsworth went to the restaurant for a birthday lunch with his family when he was asked to leave. He wrote about the experience on Facebook.
"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,'" he wrote.
The restaurant chain heard about the incident and reached out to Holsworth to apologize. The president of the company personally called the officer and said a hostess, not a member of the management, told Holsworth to leave. The officer released another statement after the situation was resolved:
"My experience today at Olive Garden was extremely unfortunate. I posted on Facebook about the treatment I received because I did not want other officers to be subjected to the same embarrassing situation that occurred today. I had hoped to simply enjoy an uninterrupted birthday meal with my family. 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. I ask that the media and others respect my privacy and devote their attentions to altering the general narrative about police officers in a more positive direction so this type of situation does not occur in the future."
An Olive Garden spokesman said the restaurant “follows whatever the local law allows as it relates to civilians” when it comes to conceal and carry. He added that police officers are always welcome inside with their service weapons and characterized the incident as a misunderstanding.