From Nashville, TN, WSMV channel 4, comes the latest story about both the lack of respect for our Veterans and the compassion of others. Jesse Brand, a country singer out of Nashville, and a friend of his stopped by the Waffle House after a show. He saw a homeless man there and invited him to dinner.
“I saw this guy hobbling across the parking lot with a cane. He had a Marine Corps tattoo on his arm… I had spent several years off and on homeless as well.” Jesse Brand
Not understanding the inside story
What happened next is outrageous! “Within 30-40 secs, the gal behind the counter said that the two of you can stay, but he has to go. His shirt is dirty and he can’t be in here.”
Brand said it got worse, the man told him he was a disabled combat Marine Veteran and his name was Roger Hornsby. When he went back to collect his things, a wheelchair and a sleeping bag, one of the employees had thrown it out.
Jesse Brand then turned to Mr. Hornsby and said, “come on let’s go somewhere else.”
Brand told the manager, “I will never eat here again.”
The three then proceeded to drive about 5 or 6 miles to the next Waffle House, where they were treated like kings, according to Brand.
Pat Warner, Vice President of culture with Waffle House spoke to Channel 4 about the incident. He related the report from some of the employees saying they were harassed earlier by Hornsby behind the building, and said they were pulling the surveillance tapes.
Warner stated, “We want everybody to feel welcome at Waffle House. We want everybody 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.”
Mr. Brand is quoted as saying:
“Anybody … to treat them differently? To treat them the way we got treated Saturday night? It’s deplorable. He’s my buddy, my friend. I’m going to stand up for him.”
Mr. Brand started a benefit concert 5 years ago in Texas. These concerts were collecting socks, blankets, and sleeping bags for the homeless. He has called some of his friends in Nashville after the incident to do the same here.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has with some difficulty in getting solid data on the homelessness of Veterans. Their estimates are around 50,000 Veterans are homeless on any given night.
Here are some statistics regarding homeless Veterans:
12% of the homeless adult population are veterans
- 20% of the male homeless population are veterans
- 68% reside in principal cities
- 32% reside in suburban/rural areas
- 51% of individual homeless veterans have disabilities
- 50% have serious mental illness
- 70% have substance abuse problems
- 51% are white males, compared to 38% of non-veterans
- 50% are age 51 or older, compared to 19% non-veterans
Chances are that when you see a homeless person, they are a veteran. There are many different reasons for their homelessness. From lack of jobs, companies downsizing, PTSD, the list is long. Why treat someone badly who is in a situation that has them homeless? ‘There but for the grace of God, go I.’ People need to realize that people are people. Human. They deserve respect and to be treated fairly.
This Waffle House is a symptom
As for Waffle House’s actions, I find them down right disgusting! Especially in light of the fact that the gentleman was a Veteran. The very least they could have done was to give the man some food to go and that would have been the end of the problem. I understand that there was a situation behind the building earlier. Still, where is the compassion for your fellow man?
This society is going down the sewer rapidly. This by no means is an isolated case. This kind of incident happens all across this country. We as a nation are failing in the task of being human. I remember being taught the “golden rule” – treat others as you want to be treated. That is a lesson not universally taught anymore.
The younger generation is self absorbed in inane things that matter nothing in the big scheme of life. These are the same people that demand to be paid $15.00/hour to flip burgers and cook waffles. There is no drive and ambition to work for what you want. People that are less fortunate are invisible to these “Obliviots.” (Oblivious Idiots). It’s all about me and what can I get for free. No work ethic.
There are two stories contained in this article. The first one is the treatment of one of our Veterans, the second story is the one about someone befriending this same Veteran and the compassion displayed by a fellow human being. The good news is, they found Mr. Hornsby’s wheelchair and sleeping bag.