Olive Garden is apologizing for refusing to allow an 80-year-old Kiwanis Club member to display the U.S. flag at an Alabama restaurant.
The Kiwanis Club in the east Alabama city of Oxford had planned a banquet, but Marti Warren, of Anniston, said she wasn’t allowed to bring the flag or a banner into the building.
Warren, in a Fox News interview, said, “This is not my country. This is not my country I grew up with.”
Warren, a former educator, told Fox she was outraged. “I was so angry. I felt like I had been slapped in the face.”
Oxford is located 90 miles west of Atlanta on I-20.
Management at the restaurant refused to answer questions concerning the incident, such as the size of the flag.
A media contact would not answer specific questions either, but did issue an apology via email.
“We are very sorry for any misunderstanding about this issue. We do not have a policy at Olive Garden concerning bringing the American flag into our restaurants. Some members of our team were misinformed about company policy by our corporate office. As a company we take responsibility for that and we regret it. We take pride in how we communicate to our restaurants and we are correcting this so it doesn’t happen again. Like all Americans we have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for the American flag and everything it symbolizes, and we welcome anyone who wishes to bring the flag into our restaurants. In fact, we periodically provide American flag collar pins to our employees to wear while serving guests.”
The parent firm of Olive Garden, Darden restaurants, which also operates the Red Lobster and Longhorn chains, is based in Orlando.