TMZ

Our TV Shows

Got a Tip?

Call TMZ at (888) 847-9869 or Click Here

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

0821_kfc_01

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.

082113_hernandez_kfc_tmz_live_launch_v2

263 COMMENTS

No Avatar
76.

victoria,bc    

most of the restaurants do not allowed animals no exception due to food safety/cross contamination, i think theres more to that story, seems not right, cs call him papi.....and 1mil lawsuit for what discrimination? oh please! dont get me wrong i respect veterans and also people not veterans, seems like bcoz they are soldiers we have to respect them more, acknowledge them more bcoz what they been thru, but whining about not being properly served in the fast food, maybe he should ask KFC employees how many times they get insulted by customers bcoz of job they choose...

326 days ago
77.

e33    

And what the H E L L is a highly trained service dog trained to do to help "sooth the effects of PTSD?" This guy gonna snap for 5 minutes alone without his dog getting his order? I hope he doesn't own any guns. The video will show he's lying about the dog having it's vest on.

326 days ago
78.

Observer    

I support our service men and women, however.....
A 'Million Bucks'? Really?
Give me a break.
That just turned the tide for me.
This is now 'Not' about correcting something, it's about 'EXTORTION'.
+
Shame on you!

326 days ago
79.

Davis    

Not sure how I feel about it, I just know he doesn't deserve 1,000,000 dollars for it

326 days ago
80.

Jimmy Rustle    

He couldn't have gone through the drive thru? No dogs means NO DOGS. I don't care if you're sad about fighting in some war. What did he think he was signing up for when he joined the military service? The Boy Scouts?

326 days ago
81.

CaliWriter    

And he greeted him in Mexican just b/c he looked Mexican. There is another lawsuit....what if his last name was Hernandez but he didn't speak Spanish????

And I've gone to KFC in several states NYC one of them and the sign does say "Except Service Dogs" so pay up KFC your employee was in the wrong....poor training and take the manager with you!

326 days ago
82.

Clyde T.M. Nestra    

KFC had better settle this out of court and very, very quickly. This kind of publicity does no business any good.

326 days ago
83.

Karen    

Burns me up....people are SUE HAPPY. A million bucks????????????? Please, gimme a break. "Chit " happens................move on. I'll bet he is claiming race discrimination. SMH. No sympathy from me.

326 days ago
84.

Ray    

When i heard service dog i immediately thought he was blind but turns out its just for PTSD. Could he not have left the dog outside then ordered his food.

326 days ago
85.

Maggie    

But did he have the permits WITH him? Did he SHOW the permits to the KFC worker? If he did and was still told the dog couldn't come in, then he should contact the owner of the franchise and complain. The owner should then offer an apology, $100 gift card for chicken, and re-train all his employees to make sure they understand service animals WITH THE PROPER PERMITS are allowed in the store. That's it. This is nothing more than a greedy and frivolous lawsuit.

However...I will say I am sick to death of people bringing their dogs in to every store and restaurant, breezing right past the signs that say NO PETS ALLOWED. If an employee questions them, they insist the pet is a "service animal".

Here in California, employees are only allowed to ask if it is a service animal and what service the animal is trained to perform. That's it. I looked it up. So clearly, it is way too easy for people to lie.

There should be one national law. Something simple: A service animal should be allowed to go anywhere with the owner PROVIDED the animal is wearing a collar with a special tag on it AND the owner must always carry a photo ID card for the animal, just like a driver must always carry their driver's license. The card would have a photo of the owner and a photo of the animal. If asked by any business employee, the owner MUST show the ID card and the animal's collar and tag. No ID/tag = no admittance. Period. It would make life easier for everyone including the legitimate service animal owners who hate getting the stink eye from other customers who don't believe it's a service animal.

326 days ago
86.

BB not bb    

So did they say they would bring the food out to him? Did they have a place for him to eat outside? I bet they just treated him like a nut case and that is what got him mad. I wouldn't care if there was a service dog in a restaurant. They seem to be clean and well behaved. The chicken they serve there is probably filthier than sitting next to a dog.


I think if they apologized and gave him a year's worth of free meals, he would be satisfied.

326 days ago
87.

dennis    

Bad PR, sure, but $1,000,000. I dunno.

326 days ago
88.

todd lee    

A million bucks?????????? Is he tramatized without his KFC?? Gimme a break!!

326 days ago
89.

JimmyB    

$1,000,000??? I don't think so. His time ain't that valuable. A reasonable amount...Maybe. He didn't win the lottery.

326 days ago
90.

Old Man    

The dog is a comfort animal, not a service animal, in this incident at least. Service dogs are for individuals with actual physical disabilities who require the assistance of an animal to do, or help out with tasks. Comfort animals, which are specifically excluded from the ADA regulations that would let him have the dog on the premises, help out with the emotional well being of an individual. He has PTSD and isn't physically disabled. Employee still probably not trained properly, but they made the right choice. Lawsuit will be easily dismissed, or lost.

326 days ago
Previous 15 Comments | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Most Recent | Next 15 Comments

Around The Web