Andrew Ward (above) is a Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency Officer. His recent trip to an Outback restaurant in Cleveland, Tennessee didn’t go as expected. His Facebook page tells the tale . . .
Well we had a first tonight…. while I was at work tonight (in uniform) I stopped by Outback Steakhouse to eat supper with my wife. I was approached by the manager and asked if I would put my gun in my truck. I let her know that I couldn’t because I was in uniform. She then went and made a call and came back and we were asked to leave because Outback is a gun free zone.
Note: I don’t blame the manager… but this is ridiculous and we will never go back there ever again.
What is this country coming to? A uniformed Law Enforcement Officer who is sworn to protect and serve the public, is refused service because they have a firearm! I am disgusted and have no other words!!! . . .
Folks we need to turn our attention to people like this who try and push their agenda on all those around them. When an entire restaurant full of other happy people were completely fine with my presence. As a country we need to stand up for each other as so many who have shared this post have done. I am truly humbled by the support we received.
In his next FB post, Officer Ward reveals Outback’s initial response:
Update with the situation tonight with Outback- the manager has apologized and is sending us a $100 gift card that can be used in multiple restaurants and stated a lady sitting next to our table felt scared for her life !
She said police are shooting people and she could have gotten shot in the parking lot [ED: above] and the manager had to walked her and her husband to their vehicle.
We were told it was a policy they don’t allow guns – if we would have known there was a complaint we would not have went anywhere! Seriously she was scared for her life ? We were joking and laughing with our server as we ordered then prayed. What was scary about that??
And then the story went viral, scooped-up by the anti-gun rights but pro-police mainstream media. And Outback backpedalled like crazy. miamiherald.com:
The manager misunderstood the restaurant’s policy on guns, according to a statement from Bloomin’ Brands, Outback’s parent company, to WLOS.
We’ve always allowed uniformed law enforcement officers to carry their side arms inside our restaurants,” reads the statement. “A manager made a mistake and we have discussed this with her. We have contacted the guest personally and apologized.”
As for Officer Ward, his religion led him to forgiveness:
There was a mistake made and that’s it… we all make mistakes and and must move forward with our lives. If we move forward and learn from our past mistakes they are no longer mistakes but Lessons! I am not nor will I ever be a perfect man…. there was only one perfect man ever to walk this earth and He died some 2000 years ago to forgive my sins.
Whew! We’re back to where we should be: armed law enforcement can carry their guns into an Outback restaurant but legally armed Americans can not. Hang on . . .
[Note: All restaurants in the Bloomin’ Brands portfolio — Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish Grill, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Roy’s — are “gun free zones.” Unless you’re a cop. “We are not disrespectful of the rights of gun owners, we merely want all of our guests to feel welcomed and safe, and frankly see no need for guns to be brought into restaurants.”]