Veteran Roger Hornsby was allegedly turned away from a Waffle House restaurant near Nashville, Tennessee, after an employee said he was “dirty."
Hornsby is homeless.
Jesse Brand, a local musician, told WSMV he witnessed the whole incident.
“I saw this guy hobbling across the parking lot with a cane,” Brand said. “He had a Marine Corps tattoo on his arm.”
Brand, who has previously been homeless, invited Hornsby to have dinner with him.
Brand said what happened next made him feel sick.
“Within 30-40 seconds, the gal behind the counter said, ‘You two can stay, he's got to leave,’” Brand said. “She said, ‘His shirt's dirty. He can't be in here.’”
Hornsby left, but came back later for his belongings.
“I went over there to get my sleeping bag and wheelchair,” Hornsby said. "And they said, ‘You get out of here. Get out of here.’”
Brand said he heard staff members telling Hornsby they threw his belongings away. Brand told staff members he was leaving and that he wouldn’t return.
"We drove five to six miles to the next Waffle House, where we were treated like kings,” Brand said.
Employees have a different story.
They claim Hornsby harassed them earlier that day, Eater reported.
“We want everyone to feel welcomed in. In this case, however, that patron was asked to leave the property because of threatening our associates. The safety of our associates and customers is as important as it being a welcoming place,” Pat Warner, vice president of culture with Waffle House, told WSMV, adding that his employees were working on obtaining surveillance footage that backed up their claims.
Though Hornsby was able to recover his belongings, Brand is furious.
“Anybody … to treat them differently? To treat them the way we got treated Saturday night? It's deplorable,” he said. “He's my buddy, my friend. I'm going to stand up for him.”
Brand is working to pull together a benefit concert for the homeless.