Local vet said he was denied free meal at restaurants on Veteran - KMOV.com

Local vet said he was denied free meal at restaurants on Veterans Day

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A Navy veteran said he was denied a free meal on Veterans Day from Chili’s and O’Charley’s restaurants in Florissant. A Navy veteran said he was denied a free meal on Veterans Day from Chili’s and O’Charley’s restaurants in Florissant.
FLORISSANT, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

An Alton Navy veteran said he was denied a free meal on Veterans Day from Chili’s and O’Charley’s restaurants in Florissant. 

The veteran, who wanted his name to remain private, said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, which prevents him from dining out. He said he asked both restaurants to make an exception and offer the meals to-go, but they wouldn’t. The free meal offers were for dine-in only.

“I felt that was very wrong, and it didn't show empathy for my condition,” he said.

 He deals with anxiety and a fear of crowds after serving in the Navy from 1995 through 1998.  It’s a disability that makes it hard for him to enjoy Veterans Day – or any other day – in public.

“I'm livid. Because you know, we serve with our life on the line. And we paid with a price. It's not my fault that I have this disorder,” he said.

He said employees at both restaurants told him the computer system would not allow them to give out a to-go meal for free, and it’s their policy to provide the free meals only to customers who dine in.

Managers at both restaurants told News 4 if they were asked, they would've been happy to make an exception. They weren't sure why that wasn't done by employees.

News 4 made efforts to contact corporate owners of both restaurants, but those messages were initially not returned, but o'Charleys later sent the following statement:

We saw the story you ran last night about O’Charley’s not giving a veteran a free meal on Veterans Day. We wanted to let you know that the situation has been rectified. The team at the Florissant location was able to speak to the veteran and apologize for the miscommunication. He has accepted the apology and understands that it was not the company’s intention to refuse a meal to a veteran on Veterans Day. 

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