Musician stands up for homeless vet who was kicked out of Waffle - WSMV News 4

Musician stands up for homeless vet who was kicked out of Waffle House

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Nashville musician Jesse Brand and a friend stopped for a bite to eat after a late-night gig Saturday night when he saw a homeless man nearby and invited him to dinner.

“I saw this guy hobbling across the parking lot with a cane,” Brand said. “He had a Marine Corps tattoo on his arm.

“I had spent several years off and on homeless as well,” Brand added.

Brand said what happened next made him sick.

“Within 30-40 seconds, the gal behind the counter said, ‘You two can stay, he's got to leave,’” Brand said. “She said, ‘His shirt's dirty. He can't be in here.’”

Brand said it got worse when the man, who later told him was a disabled combat veteran named Roger Hornsby, asked for some belongings back.

“I went over there to get my sleeping bag and wheelchair,” Hornsby said. "And they said, ‘You get out of here. Get out of here.’”

Brand picked up the story from there.

“The gentleman said, ‘Can I have my sleeping bag and wheelchair?’ They said, ‘We threw it away,’” Brand said.

Brand said he turned to Hornsby and said, “Come on, let’s go somewhere.” He then turned to the manager and told him he would never be back there again.

“We drove five to six miles to the next Waffle House, where we were treated like kings,” Brand said.

Pat Warner, vice president of culture with Waffle House, spoke to Channel 4 about the incident. He said they're pulling surveillance tape and talking to employees who reported being harassed earlier by people behind the building.

“We want everybody to feel welcomed at Waffle House,” Warner said. “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.”

When Brand returned to the scene today with Channel 4, there was some good news. Hornsby’s wheelchair and sleeping bag were found.

Brand said the whole ordeal infuriates him.

“Anybody … to treat them differently? To treat them the way we got treated Saturday night? It's deplorable,” he said. “He's my buddy, my friend. I'm going to stand up for him.”

Brand said he started a benefit concert five years ago in Texas to collect socks, coats, blankets and sleeping bags for the homeless. He said he immediately made some calls to fellow Nashville musician friends after this incident to do the same here.

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