A customer was eating at an Outback Steakhouse restaurant in Tennessee when a uniformed officer sat down, and the patron soon spotted something that left her “scared for her life.” When she told the manager, the staff member had a shocking reply, and it has the incident going viral.
Officer Andrew Ward (left), stock photo of an Outback Restaurant (right) (Photo Credit: Andrew Ward/Facebook, Mike Mozart/Flickr)
Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency Officer Andrew Ward was on duty when he decided to grab a quick bite to eat with his wife at a local Outback Steakhouse. As soon as they sat down, he immediately noticed a customer glaring at him, and it was only a matter of moments before the manager walked up and asked him to do one stunning thing.
It seems that the customer felt “scared for her life” when she saw the armed officer sit down near her. So, she complained to management. However, it’s how the manager on duty reacted to the situation that has left Officer Ward furious and turning to Facebook to let everyone know how he was treated.
Andrew Ward’s post detailing the incident has now gone viral:
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!!!
Outback has contacted us and has apologized for the incident. There was another customer that was “scared for her life” who was seated across from us. This customer also stated that she was afraid because “police are shooting people” and this customer went on to demand to be escorted to her vehicle out of fear of being shot. Again I don’t blame the manager in this situation.
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.
Essentially, Andrew Ward was kicked out of the restaurant with his wife because the manager thought that a “gun-free zone” included officers of the law. When he told her that he couldn’t put his firearm in his truck because he was in uniform, she told him he would have to leave. Clearly, both the customer and the manager were wrong, and uniformed officers are allowed to carry their service weapon, even in a “gun-free zone.”
Officer Andrew Ward and his wife (Photo Credit: Andrew Ward/Facebook)
After the post went viral, it didn’t take long for Outback’s parent company to respond to the situation. They released a statement to ease the backlash that they were getting following the manager’s naïve actions.
“We’ve always allowed uniformed law enforcement officers to carry their sidearms inside our restaurants,” they explained, according to IJ Review. “A manager made a mistake and we have discussed this with her. We have contacted the guest personally and apologized.”
In addition to the statement, the company sent Andrew Ward and his wife a $100 gift certificate along with an apology, according to News Channel 9 ABC. Being the good guy that he is, Ward returned to the restaurant to talk to the manager who had confronted him. Remarkably, it was then that she apologized for her mistake.
Officers of the law put their lives on the line every day to do difficult jobs most of us couldn’t imagine. It’s disappointing to think that any law-abiding citizen would feel threatened by an officer’s presence, solely because he had his service weapon. People should actually feel safer if an armed officer is around. However, if certain people don’t feel comfortable in such a situation, then they need to understand that they are the ones who need to leave. There’s no reason an officer of the law should be inconvenienced due to the ignorance and irrational fear of others.