An armed U.S. soldier was denied service at a Waffle House restaurant in Kentucky. According to a local NBC station, when U.S Navy officer Billy Welch — who was in uniform — sat down for a meal at the Nicholasville location of the 24-hour chain, he was told he’d need to disarm or leave the restaurant.
LEX18 reported that Billy Welch said that he stopped at the Waffle House Sunday morning for breakfast. He was in his Army National Guard uniform and had his gun holstered to his side. After ordering his food, Welch said that a waitress signaled for him to come over.
“I got up and I walked over to them, asked them how they were doing and stuff, and they said I’d have to take my firearm outside,” said Welch. “I don’t feel comfortable taking my firearm away from me. I always keep it with me and they said, ‘it’s one of our policies.’”
Welch said that he didn’t think too much of it, just told the waitress that he could not leave his firearm outside.
“You know, if I can’t have my firearm, then I can’t be here,” said Welch. “I walked inside to the other waitress. I said, ‘thank you, but no thank you ma’am. I’m gonna have to leave.'”
Welch started hearing from people and organizations all over the country after one witness took the details of the situation to Facebook.
“I have a bunch of family members and friends who have been active military and in the military and retired and it hurts my feelings when people disrespect them,” said Micaela Shaw, who was sitting in a booth nearby. “I just wanted to stand up for him.”
Her posts quickly went viral.
The owner of the Nicholasville Waffle House made this statement, “For many years we have had a “No Firearms” police in place in our restaurants. We continue to believe this is the best policy for the safety of our customers and associates.”