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Waffle House Refused to Serve a Homeless Veteran

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The restaurant claims he threatened staff.

Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

A Nashville-area Waffle House is serving today's helping of fresh and greasy controversy. Musician Jesse Brand tells NBC he was out for a bite to eat at the chain on Saturday night when he encountered homeless veteran Roger Hornsby and invited him to dinner. "I saw this guy hobbling across the parking lot with a cane," he says. However, inside the Waffle House the evening turned ugly when an employee at the restaurant insisted Hornsby leave. "Within 30-40 seconds, the gal behind the counter said, ‘You two can stay, he's got to leave,'" recounts Brand. "She said, ‘His shirt's dirty. He can't be in here.'" Brand then turned to the manager and said he would never be back again and drove himself and Hornsby to a different Waffle House.

"She said, ‘His shirt's dirty. He can't be in here.'"

The veteran later revealed to Brand that he sleeps on an embankment beside the restaurant. During a prior incident, Hornsby said the Waffle House refused to return his wheelchair and sleeping bag. When Hornsby inquired about the items later, a worker allegedly said, "We threw it away."

In a statement to NBC, Waffle House vice president Pat Warner says the company is pulling surveillance tape to confirm that employees had been harassed by Hornsby. "We want everybody to feel welcomed at Waffle House," Warner says. "We want everyone 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."

Meanwhile, the offending Waffle House has returned Hornsby's belongings. Brand — who "spent several years off and on homeless" — says the way Waffle House treated Hornby was "deplorable." He plans to hold a benefit concert in support of the homeless veteran.

Waffle House — which sees its fair share of robberiesmurders, and pie-incited violence— plays host to similar charitable drama too. Earlier this year, a five-year-old customer set a high bar for humanity by insisting his mother treat a homeless man to a meal. Watch the local report below: