A social media post about an armed soldier who was refused service at a Kentucky restaurant is helping his story go viral.

Billy Welch, an Army National Guard soldier, says he always keeps his gun holstered at his side for protection.

Welch says around 1:30 a.m. he stopped at the Waffle House in Nicholasville wearing his military uniform, with his gun holstered on his hip. After ordering his food, he noticed a waitress and manager signaling for him to come over.

“I got up and I walked over to them, asked them how they were doing and stuff, and they said I’d have to take my firearm outside,” Welch told a local reporter. “I don’t feel comfortable taking my firearm away from me. I always keep it with me and they said, ‘it’s one of our policies.’”

Welch told the waitress ‘thank you, but no thank you’ and let her know he was going to leave.

One witness at the restaurant posted the details of the event on Facebook, which quickly gained attention.

“I have a bunch of family members and friends who have been active military and in the military and retired and it hurts my feelings when people disrespect them,” said Micaela Shaw, who was sitting in a booth nearby. “I just wanted to stand up for him.”

In response, the owner of the Nicholasville Waffle House has released the following statement:

“For many years we have had a ‘No Firearms’ policy in place in our restaurants. We continue to believe this is the best policy for the safety of our customers and associates.”

In unrelated news, police are still investigating an armed robbery of a Waffle House restaurant in Anderson County and one person has been arrested and charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, and possession of heroin stemming from a separate armed robbery, this time of the Carolina Beach Road Waffle House which took place on Labor Day.

No word on whether either armed robbery suspect saw the ‘No Firearms’ policy prohibiting guns from Waffle House restaurants for the ‘safety of customers and associates’.