INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- An on-duty police officer was meeting his family for his birthday lunch at a Missouri Olive Garden when he says he was asked to leave because of his gun.
Kansas City Missouri Police Officer Michael Holsworth took to Facebook to talk about the experience.
He said he was meeting his family at the restaurant to celebrate his birthday.
The rest of his family was running late, so Holsworth said he went in and sat on a bench.
"I walked in and sat down on a bench just inside the doors. As I was sitting there waiting, one of the employees told me, 'Sir, we don't allow guns in here,'" he wrote.
Holsworth says he initially thought the employee was joking.
"Now mind you I am in full police uniform and on duty. I actually thought it was a joke at first so I asked her 'Are you serious?' She replied back with ' Yes'. So I told her 'well I can leave I guess.' She then replied back ' yes please leave,'" Holsworth wrote.
Holsworth's post was shared more than 9,000 times.
According to WDAF, the president of Olive Garden, Dave George, quickly got word of the incident and called Holsworth to apologize.
Olive Garden Spokesperson Rich Jeffers says it a hostess who told the officer to leave, not a member of management.
The restaurant chain tweeted out that the whole thing was a misunderstanding.
@FOPLemon This was a misunderstanding. Law enforcement are always welcome to dine w/ us—We ️❤️ serving them and have great relationships.
— Olive Garden (@olivegarden) October 11, 2015
After the incident was resolved, Holsworth issued the following statement:
"My experience today at Olive Garden was extremely unfortunate. I posted on Facebook about the treatment I received because I did not want other officers to be subjected to the same embarrassing situation that occurred today. I had hoped to simply enjoy an uninterrupted birthday meal with my family. I never believed I would be asked to leave a public restaurant because I was in full police uniform which requires me to carry my duty weapon. It is my hope that Olive Garden handles this situation appropriately so no other officer has the same experience I had today. I ask that the media and others respect my privacy and devote their attentions to altering the general narrative about police officers in a more positive direction so this type of situation does not occur in the future."
Popular restaurant chain apologizes to KCPD officer after he says hostess asked him to leave
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— FOX4 News (@fox4kc) October 12, 2015