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War Hero Sues KFC

They REFUSED to Serve Me

'Cause of My Service Dog

8/21/2013 11:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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An American war hero is suing the company behind Kentucky Fried Chicken ... claiming KFC  employees refused to serve him ... all because he arrived to the fast food joint with his registered service dog, this according to a new lawsuit obtained by TMZ.

The man behind the lawsuit is Charles Hernandez -- who describes himself as a "highly-decorated  and combat-disabled veteran of the Iraq war and a distinguished educator in the New York City school system."

There's more ... he was also New York City Council's Veteran of the Year in 2011 ... and was also "one of the first soldiers to arrive at the World Trade Center site" on September 11, 2001.

So, you'd think the guy would have no problems getting some fried chicken at his leisure, right?

Wrong, according to his new lawsuit filed in NYC.

Hernandez claims he walked into a KFC in NY back in February, along with his registered service dog Valor ... who accompanies Hernandez to soothe his symptoms of post-traumatic stress caused by years in combat.

But instead of being greeted with a smile and some chicken, Hernandez claims a KFC employee told him, "papi, there are no dogs allowed."

Hernandez says he explained that he had the proper permits to have the dog accompany him inside restaurants -- to which the employee replied, "ok, but you still cannot have the dog in the store."

Eventually, Hernandez left ... sans chicken ... and is now firing back with the lawsuit -- demanding at least $1,000,000 for his troubles.

God bless America.

An employee at the KFC restaurant where the incident took place tells us ... when Hernandez arrived with the dog, the animal was not wearing the proper service dog vest and identification.

However, in his lawsuit, Hernandez states -- "Valor wears a bright green vest and tags that clearly indicate that he is not a pet, but rather a highly trained service dog."

Sgt. Hernandez called into TMZ Live today to talk about the suit.

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263 COMMENTS

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1.

Joe    

Good for him.. I hope he wins..

374 days ago
2.

Kath    

Good for him. That employee was improperly trained and caused him grief.

374 days ago
3.

mothermew    

No dogs means no dogs....why serve chicken to a murderer.anyways

374 days ago
4.

Jericho Morton    

Corporate rules, administered by fools.

374 days ago
5.

Bobby    

The man deserves an apology and a promise from KFC to educate its employees regarding service dogs. Maybe some free chicken. But a million dollars? Come on.

374 days ago
6.

Patti    

there is an easy way to clear this whole thing up...give him $1,000,000,000 worth of chicken....Cant imagine why $1,000,000,000 would make his pain and suffering go away....I am all for the Vets but not for ridiculous lawsuits.....

374 days ago
7.

Mary P    

Considering there are multiple sites out there making service vets for regular people to put on their dogs, the line becomes even blurrier. If he can't get food for 5 minutes without his dog, I question his being an educator and around a stressful position like teaching. I feel for our servicemen. I'm an Air Force wife, Army daughter and niece and Navy granddaughter. But PTSD symptoms don't ease just because you have a dog to help you order food. If your PTSD is that severe that you go psychotic without an animal with you at all times, 100%, no exceptions then he shouldn't be going in these places. Not to mention, while I appreciate service dogs and what they do - I've seen so many people claim a service dog for EVERYTHING now - and I've gotten dog hair in my food from a service dog for someone who was completely capable, didn't barely even acknowledge the dog's presence (such as petting a head to soothe anxiety while getting food).

So I see both sides but his "distinguished record" here has me more concerned about his interacting with students (especially with demanding such a large sum) than his ability to order some KFC.

374 days ago
8.

roll3567    

$1,000,000 that's a lot of chicken.

374 days ago
9.

DEBBIE    

I am sorry this happened to someone that that has sacrificed for our country. I thik KFC should be accountable and all franchise's should be informed. What would they do if a blind person with a seeing eye dog do. Refuse service to them also?

374 days ago
10.

Colonel Nudge    

a real hero wouldn't use this as some sort of opportunity to grab a million chicken bones.

374 days ago
11.

Dead account Delete at will    

if this works im investing in a work dog and just going to walk into restaurants and sue them. Seems like a small investment to get into guide dog training if you can get a mil a pop each time denied.
Good business venture?

374 days ago
12.

Jim    

Who kept track of "... the first soldiers to arrive at the World Trade Center site" on Sept 11, 2001? I don't know what this guy's service record actually is. Maybe he is a legitimate hero, although that word gets tossed around rather indiscriminately these days. However, claiming that you were one of the first soldiers to arrive at the WTC on that fateful day seems a bit of puffery to me. If you are already a decorated veteran, why embellish your record by adding something that is rather difficult to prove. Makes me wonder about the entire legitimacy of his beef with KFC.

374 days ago
13.

Chi    

Oh no! Papi wanna make some quick buck? Oh sorry Papi! No quick buck today-try again tomorrow with thy doggie.

374 days ago
14.

Chi    

Oh! Poor Papi looking to make some quick buck-wrong!!!!

374 days ago
15.

Carl    

Seems like an extreme reaction if that is all that happened. I would have asked to speak to a manager and if they still gave me trouble I would contact the store owner or KFC corporate to see their reaction. My guess is they would be falling all over themselves to apologize and the employee would be in trouble. Only if they didn't give a crap would a million dollar lawsuit be justified.

374 days ago
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