The president of the Olive Garden restaurant chain called and apologized to a Kansas City police officer who was asked to leave an Independence restaurant because he was armed, a company spokesman said Sunday evening.
Dave George, the president of Olive Garden, personally apologized to Officer Michael Holsworth for his experience at the Olive Garden near U.S. 40 and Noland Road, said Rich Jeffers, a spokesman for Olive Garden. The employee clearly made a mistake.
“It’s unacceptable, that’s what it is,” Jeffers said. “Olive Garden welcomes members of law enforcement all the time in the restaurants. We love serving them. They serve our community. The least we can do is provide them a great meal.”
Holsworth posted to Facebook a message saying that he showed up at the restaurant to celebrate his birthday with his family. He was on duty at the time, so he was dressed in his full uniform.
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While he was waiting on a bench, one of the employees asked him to leave, saying guns were not allowed in the restaurant. Holsworth said he thought it was a joke, but when he asked whether the employee was serious, he said she replied, “Yes.”
Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police president Brad Lemon on Sunday evening tweeted about the incident, saying Olive Garden should be ashamed.
Olive Garden responded via Twitter saying that the incident was a misunderstanding and that law enforcement officers are always welcome.
Kansas City Police Chief Darryl Forté said via Twitter that he had spoken with one of the managers and that she was very concerned and said police officers are welcome there.
About an hour after his initial tweet, Lemon posted a statement to the Kansas City FOP’s Facebook page, saying a spokesperson for the national chain called and offered an apology. The company also called Holsworth offering him a sincere apology.