Waffle House Tells National Guard Serviceman He Can't Stay Because He's Armed

Matt Vespa
Posted: Oct 01, 2015 5:30 PM
Waffle House Tells National Guard Serviceman He Can't Stay Because He's Armed

On September 27, National Guardsman Billy Welch entered a Waffle House in Nicholasville, Kentucky. He had a handgun holstered on his side. After ordering, Welch said the waitress and manager asked to speak with him; they wanted Welch to leave his firearm in his vehicle. Welch didn’t feel comfortable disarming, so he left. The story has gone viral when Micaela Shaw, who witnessed the incident, made her opinions known on Facebook. Waffle House has a no firearms policy, though its not stringently enforced when it comes to the military.

Yet, there seems to have ben facts that went unreported regarding this incident. Waffle House franchise owner Ray Daniels said some details were left out [emphasis mine]:

Waffle House's franchise owner, Ray Daniels, released a statement Wednesday clarifying the company's position and saying that they were concerned about Welch being armed because he had been previously in a fight on the premises.

The statement on the company's Facebook page reads, "Unfortunately, we have been besieged with a misrepresentation of the facts regarding the incident with the National Guardsman, Mr. Welch, at one of LexiDan Foods Waffle House establishments. The facts are simple. We do have a policy posted on our Waffle House franchise buildings stating our policy in permitting firearms in our buildings. We normally are very loose on how we enforce that policy in terms of the military. However, on this particular incident, two facts have not been reported accurately that facilitated the situation with Mr. Welch. First, he was an active participant in a fight on the premises several weeks prior to September 27th. He was restrained and taken off the premises by off-duty police officers that were eating in the restaurant at the time. The second item not reported accurately was the time the most recent incident occurred, 2AM. We have associates who have to make snap decisions on our third shifts to provide for their own safety and the safety of our customers. Our associates decided because of Mr. Welch's recent altercation, which they witnessed, it was in their best interest at 2 AM to ask Mr. Welch to leave his firearm in his vehicle. Mr. Welch decided to leave. We still tried to garner his business at that point. I am supportive of my team’s decision. I was not there and will not judge their decision making after the fact. If this incident occurred at 10am in the morning and Mr. Welch had not been involved in a previous fight I'm sure the outcome would have been different. I feel Lex 18 did not do due diligence in their reporting. We are highly supportive of all our military branches and especially supportive of our veterans. I hope this provides some clarification on the matter. Thank you for taking the time to read this and understanding that in any business, judgment decisions have to be made to provide for the safety of our associates and customers."

Welch said no fight occurred on the night in question. Yet, with this new information, what do you think? Was Waffle House in the right to deny service?