Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Seriously Olive Garden in Bolingbrook, IL? Military IDs aren't good enough?

UPDATE:  This update is long over due and I apologize to Lou Petricca, the General Manager, for that.  I did hear back from the Soldier who was denied a beer based on his military ID not being "good enough,"  Mr. Petricca contacted him and, in the Soldiers words, "He offered to have my family back for dinner and I respectfully declined. I suggested that instead he find a few local disabled veterans and host a dinner for them." 

Since the Soldier was on block leave when this occurred and had to get back to his home base he was not able to "hang around" to return to Olive Garden.

I appreciate all of you for contacting Olive Garden about this.  I must say the "canned" response from their corporate office left me wondering if they really took this seriously or if they were just attempting to save face.  Either way, I appreciate the General Manager, Mr. Petricca, for contacting the Soldier personally and attempting to work out a solution.

I got a message today from one of "my" Paratroopers who is home on block leave.  He's served two tours of Afghanistan in a little over 3 years.  Yep, 27 out of the last 39 months he's been in harms way in eastern Afghanistan.

So he comes home to visit family and friends.  To relax and enjoy the holidays with those he loves.  Last night he went to the Olive Garden in Bolingbrook, IL and....well, I'll let him tell you what happened:

From his facebook status today:  "So last night I was denied a beer at the Olive Garden because I only had a Military ID and not a valid stateside license...I don't have a valid stateside ID because ive lived overseas for 4 years now. My Military ID shows my date of birth and it is issued by the US GOVERNMENT! I wrote a nice long letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune and they just called me back VERY INTERESTED in this story..."

He also sent me a message on facebook - "Hi Leta,  Read my status, I'm sure that will fire you up! Happy Holidays!"

You're right B.  It did fire me up.

So here's what I'd like for all of you reading this to do.  Call the General Manager.  The website lists him as Lou Petricca, General Manager.  The phone number is (630) 759-5191.  I did not find an email address.  BE NICE!  No cursing or screaming.  Be firm but professional.

Maybe read this to him (in red italics below) regarding Types of Valid Government Photo IDs

U.S. Military ID Cards


•A military ID card qualifies as a valid form of photo ID in applying for a U.S. passport. A military ID card is also valid proof of age when attempting to buy alcohol in the U.S. since it contains a birthdate and a photo. The same is true in the case of applying for a library card. A U.S. military ID card may also be used in proving identity in order to obtain a social security card." Yeah, I highlighted that in red because I'm seeing RED about this.

I could tell you a few stories about Soldier "B".  Stories about where he was, what he went through, people (one in particular) he served with.  But that would embarrass him and it's really not the point.  NO member of our military that is 21 or older should be denied a legal right because some dufus with no knowledge of military IDs says so.  Perhaps some training needs to be done in at least one Olive Garden.

Get that phone ringing folks.  Leave messages.  Remember....be nice but make your point.

15 comments:

The Homeless Advisor said...

This is beyond regretable. At best it shows utter ignorance of how things work by the bartender. At worst it's a flip off of a Military Proffessional.

So much for that chain as well as sister affiliate The Macaronin Grille until said Paratrooper is addressed properly and sincerely apologised to.

CJ said...

HA! They don't seem to be wanting to answer their phones. Answering machine is full too!! Shared this on my Facebook and Twitter.

Kanani said...

I guess this is the fall out of having only 1% of the general population serve in the armed forces. Many people have never seen one, have never even considered that there is such a thing!

flamingo822 said...

I live on an Air Force base in North Dakota and the base has been there for 60 years. This happens ALL THE TIME in the cities near the base I live on. I can't tell you how many times I've had to purchase alcohol for my OVER 21 (I do NOT purchase alcohol for anyone under 21) friends because their military ID was not recognized as a valid form of ID. All the bars and a lot of the restaurants will not accept military ID as a valid form. The Fargodome event center in Fargo, ND also will not accept it. Paradiso, a very popular mexican restaurant that offers FREE dinner on your birthday, also does not accept it. I refuse to go there anymore because of this and urge ALL of my military friends to boycott these places as well. It's sickening that our troops, the ones that protect businesses' RIGHTS are the ones that are punished. I'm sick of it and things need to change!

Graverober said...

Well, since the phones and VM are apparently already full I went and sent a comment to the main Olive Garden 'Contact Us' link.

http://www.olivegarden.com/company/contact_us/

I told them that they are building an Olive Garden here in Sierra Vista and I won't be going to it until they "make this right."

"Your email has been sent to our Guest Relations office.

We will do our best to respond to your email within 3 business days. "

Dave said...

I just spoke with the manager. He is very apologetic and very sincere in his desire to rectify what sounded like to me was a simple mistake. He would like to get our young paratrooper and his family back and treat them to a diner. He does not have their name of any POC info, so if anyone has that, pls call him at 630-759-5191: Lou Petricca. He also noted that the night manager called him at home to find out if it was OK (he said yes), but the family had left by that time. Would be great if the restaurant could treat them to a free evening.

antidrm said...

I'm pretty sure that sort of crap does not happen here in Canada. We have a greater respect for our folks in the uniform than I've read about from elsewhere. We idolize ours. Those who won't stand behind our Forces Members are cordially invited to stand in front of them.

mjb12 said...

Wow, everyone...it was an honest mistake. I've worked in the restaurant industry for over 7 years, and alcohol service and ID is a touchy subject. You can lose your job (best case scenario) and face jail time/huge funes if you don't do it properly. At my restaurant, we (the company) don't accept temporary or vertical ID's, so you can't even drink at my restaurant until weeks after you turn 21 and receive your new ID in the mail. It's a sucky policy but nothing can be done about it.

Yes, a military ID is a valid form of ID. It was clearly an oversight and a mistake. No need to terrorize the restaurant for a simple mistake from a kid who didn't know any betrer.

antidrm said...

Re:
December 30, 2010 12:54 PM
mjb12 said...

Yes, a military ID is a valid form of ID. It was clearly an oversight and a mistake. No need to terrorize the restaurant for a simple mistake from a kid who didn't know any betrer.

And he didn't know any better because.....

antidrm said...

Re:
flamingo822 said...

I live on an Air Force base in North Dakota and the base has been there for 60 years. This happens ALL THE TIME in the cities near the base I live on.

This just absolutely sickens me to just read. I feel the really deep and sincere need to make some noise about it. But I'm a Canadian up here in Canada. How can my Canadian voice and efforts on behalf of American Warriors be heard so as to shame people into having more respect and consideration for THEIR Protectors?
Is Facebook not enough? I left the same message on that original site. I'm not a guru so I'm not in a technical Internet environment that can help. But I can visualize how, just not able to action.
Just need a way to support your Troops. I've stood on an overpass in my Toronto Fire uniform saluting a recent Canadian Fallen returning home while their convoy passed right by my feet. It made me cry. The Whitby Fire Chief was at my side. He teared up, too.
My uncle did a stint with the USAF in Alaska S&R and aircraft maintenance and my Dad managed the production of the Boeing E-4B for the US. Want to see a picture? Just made public. My Dad wasn't able to discuss it with me at the time. Email me. It's story is now on the History/Discovery Channel. My wife's father and brothers were in the Forces as was my great-uncle (21 year old pilot of a Marshal) who didn't make it back from his ninth sortie to Germany.
So, as you see, I have a VERY deep respect and concern for folks in the Uniform.
I need to know how I can help out here.
Sorry, didn't mean to go on so long...

antidrm said...

Re:
Dave said...

I just spoke with the manager. He is very apologetic and very sincere in his desire to rectify what sounded like to me was a simple mistake. He would like to get our young paratrooper and his family back and treat them to a diner. He does not have their name of any POC info...

If he can't figure out how to find the soldier, he needs to be replaced. Period. I can do that in a few minutes.

antidrm said...

Seems that Olive Garden's site is now down. After a few hours of trying to 'Contact' them I can only optimistically presume that a certain amount of pressure has been brought to bear that has incited them to cease hearing for us.
Ya think?

tankerbabelc said...

mjb12 - there was no "terrorizing" going on. And it may well have been an honest mistake. Maybe not. I'll give the employee the benefit of the doubt and say it was.

Here's the problem with that. That same "kid" (as you called him/her) probably isn't much older than the Soldier who was denied the beer based on his Military ID. Big difference, though. While the one "kid" decided to be a bartender (nothing wrong with that), the other "kid" who was denied the beer volunteered to join the Army and has spent 27 of the last 39 months in direct line of fire in eastern Afghanistan.

There is ZERO excuse for ANY American citizen to not understand that a military ID is a VALID, government issued ID. ZERO. I completely understand the legal issues involved if alcholic beverages are served to under age people. I have a friend who owns a bar. When you choose to own a bar or manage a restaurant/bar it is your duty to make sure your staff knows valid IDs. PERIOD.

I am beyond sick and tired of our military personnel being denied anything they deserve because of ignorance. PERIOD.

I do respect the fact that the manager of the restaurant wants to make this right. I know that the Soldier is attempting to contact him to discuss.

Graverober said...

Email response from Olive Garden Corporate (hiding email's and my full name):

From Olive Garden Guest Relations
to CM
date Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 6:30 AM
subject Olive Garden Reply # 2039753

Dear CM:

Thank you for contacting us concerning our Bolingbrook Olive Garden.

Your concern is understandable. We apologize that our team was not well informed. We have taken this opportunity to retrain all of our employees on acceptable identifications to verify age and its authenticity. This would include United States Military IDs.

Thank you for the courtesy of letting us know how you feel.


Jibri
Olive Garden Guest Relations

antidrm said...

Re: Graverober's Post:
That's it?? What an outfit! No mention of them even wanting to make it up to the aggrieved party?