The Texas Army veteran who received an apology from Chili’s restaurant after a manager denied him a free meal on Veteran’s Day now fears for his life.
Ernest Walker has moved his family out of their home in Ovilla, Texas, after receiving racially-charged death threats. He said:
We’re afraid. My wife is terrified.
Walker said that he and his family have been receiving anonymous threats ever since the Army veteran decided to speak out about the way he was treated at Chili’s in Cedar Hill on Veterans Day. He explained:
We’ve received phone calls, and it’s always a restricted line. People are saying, “hey, we know where you live.”
Footage showing a now-former Chili’s manager taking away Walker’s complimentary Veteran’s Day meal has been viewed more than a million times since being shared on Facebook.
Walker explained that the confrontation took place after an elderly customer started questioning his military service and complained to management.
The Pentagon has confirmed Walker’s veteran status.
Walker said that the threats to against him and his family have been coming by phone, mail, as well as online. He said:
We had to protect ourselves, so we had to leave. We had to take our dog away from the house, because there was threats against our dog.
The veteran explained that he and his wife moved out of their home about a week-and-a-half ago.
Walker calls it a safety decision after a Dallas media agency published his address.
S. Lee Merritt, Sr., one of the attorneys representing Walker, said:
In putting himself out there, he is going to be under constant scrutiny.
He is exposed to attacks from people who don’t agree with his way of thinking.
The veteran said that he is now focused more than ever on turning this moment into a mission to help other veterans.
Walker and his supporters are hosting a free luncheon for veterans next month. He said:
This country right now is wounded. There needs to be a healing process.
For the people that reached out to me from all different colors, races, creeds and religions, that let me know there is hope for this country.