An Outback restaurant was made to regret the decision when the manager of the restaurant abruptly forced the officer who took his wife to Outback Steakhouse for a nice evening meal to leave the restaurant.

It was revealed that the uniformed Tennessee police officer was carrying his service weapon.

On a Friday night, Andrew Ward, a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) officer, decided to take his wife Amanda out to supper at Outback Steakhouse while still in uniform. The couple had no idea that their restaurant decision would make their evening miserable.

In case of an emergency, many law enforcement officers are still required to have their firearms on them at all times. And while they are on duty and wearing their uniforms, they often visit restaurants as their assigned break to eat.

Officer Ward asked to leave the Outback Steakhouse in Cleveland on Friday night because he was carrying his service firearm, according to Local 3 News. Ward wrote about the encounter in a public Facebook post. He claimed that management asked him to take his firearm away and put it in his car. He said that since he was in uniform, he had to have it on him.

Officer Ward said further that Outback Steakhouses are “gun-free zones” and continued, “The management claimed but later on, Ward and his wife were asked to leave by the management after he had left to make a phone call.”

On Facebook, Ward posted what he experienced at the restaurant, he wrote:

I don’t blame the manager… but this is ridiculous and we will never go back there ever again, 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!!!”

“She said police are shooting people, and she could have gotten shot in the parking lot, and the manager had to [walk] her and her husband to their vehicle,” Ward wrote. Explaining in a subsequent Facebook post the reason the manager contacted him. He claims that a customer at a different table claimed to be terrified for her life.

“We were told it was a policy they don’t allow guns – if we would have known there was a complaint we would not have went anywhere! Seriously, she was scared for her life? We were joking and laughing with our server as we ordered, then prayed. What was scary about that?”

Officer Ward’s Facebook posts became viral, with over 150,000 shares, according to a local news network, from that Ward stated that Outback reached out to him and apologized. They also handed him a $100 gift card, but for many in the community, this was too little, too late.

Officer Andrew Ward (fourth from left) with his colleagues

Outback released a comment as the story gathered steam in the neighborhood media.

We’ve always allowed uniformed law enforcement officers to carry their sidearms while dining with us, a manager made a mistake. We have contacted the guest personally and apologized.”

Sheriff Eric Watson of Bradley County also issued a statement saying:

“I was very saddened to hear the reports of a law-enforcement officer who was asked to leave a restaurant in this community, while I truly respect the restaurant for reaching out to the officer, our community must also show support to the men and women who place the badge on their chests every single day in order to protect the establishment in which the officer was asked to leave.”

“[Ward] is very thankful for the support from the community because he believes it truly helped remedy a situation. He believes the problem has been solved and wants to move on,” News 12 reported.

The lawman issued one final statement after the outpouring of support Officer Ward and his family received via Facebook and in his community.

He said,If we move forward and learn from our past mistakes they are no longer mistakes but Lessons! I am not nor will I ever be a perfect man…. there was only one perfect man ever to walk this earth and He died some 2000 years ago to forgive my sins.”

Watch the video report below for more details:

Sources: Taphaps, WDEF, Local3news






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