In Florissant, Missouri, an unidentified adult male, Navy veteran was denied the same respect as other veterans on Veteran’s Day at Chili’s and O’Charley’s restaurants where they were providing free meals to veterans on the holiday. Reportedly, he suffers from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following is service between 1995-1998 and according to his illness, it is very difficult for him to enjoy the holiday and to be around other veterans. PTSD is nothing to make little of. I have had it for about 15-years and no first-hand the difficulties of being triggered by places, holidays, people, objects, or even memories related to the events. If you have ever had anxiety or an anxiety attack, then imagine it about 50 times worse and feeling like your heart is about to jump out of your chest while reliving the events of the bad memories repeatedly like you are caught up in a broken record or movie that loops the same tragic memories and causing you to feel like life as you know it is unravelling around you. That is just the tip of the iceberg. The veteran said that he suffers from severe anxiety and fear of crowds and associating life on related holidays.
Both restaurants refused a carry-out meal claiming there was no way to ring out a free meal to-go. I suspect if he had a sympathetic manager, that they would make an exception. At the very least, I truly believe that had other customers been made aware of the incident that they would have gladly bought his meal and thanked him for his service. However, employees advised him that the free meals for veterans were not available to veterans on the go. Heck, they could have rang him up for a regular meal and then gave him a to-go box. With all of the racial tension across the nation and Saint Louis alone, one cannot help but wonder if the fact that he is black may have played a part is his refusal?
“I felt that was very wrong, and it didn’t show empathy for my condition,” he said.
Now that the news is involved, both restaurants are claiming they would have made an exception.
“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.”
— O’Charley’s Corporation