Feel like getting angry? If you answered “no,” stop reading right now. If you answered “yes,” keep reading. And be prepared to want to punch something.
Marine Garrett Carnes, who lost both of his legs serving in Afghanistan, was forced to leave a south Charlotte restaurant with his wife and family after another group of patrons began taunting them over their Cowboys jerseys. The situation quickly deteriorated, and one of the combative patrons — nicknamed “Tank” — challenged the Marine to a fight, then told him not to use his wheelchair “as an excuse.”
The incident happened after Carnes, his wife Courtney, their parents, and friends Brett and Nicole Coburn stopped at the restaurant for dinner after attending the Carolina Panthers’ game against Dallas. Several members of the party, including Garrett Carnes, were wearing Dallas Cowboys jerseys.
“Courtney was the first one out of the vehicle, and while she was getting Garrett’s wheelchair, one guy immediately started yelling at her,” said Brett Coburn, who described the man’s comments as “taunts.”
So, if you’re keeping score at home: a Marine, his wife, his family, and his friends — most of the important people in his life — go to a Cowboys game in North Carolina. The group decides to go to a restaurant after the game, a game the Cowboys won 19-14. The Marine’s wife is taunted by a guy named “Tank” as she gets out of the car.
Coburn said that when the group reached the front door, the fan, who other patrons called Tank, was waiting for them.
“He was standing at the door, and he started harassing us because of the Cowboys jerseys,” Coburn said.
He said Tank told Garrett Carnes, “Don’t use your wheelchair as a crutch.”
According to witnesses, Carnes told the group of patrons harassing the party that he was a veteran. That apparently didn’t deter their bullshit, and Tank stepped toward Carnes in a “threatening manner.” Other patrons stepped in, and restaurant employees stepped in to try to diffuse the situation.
Neilsen said his employees are trained to separate possible combatants, in an effort to defuse such situations. On Sunday, staff members asked Garrett Carnes and his party to leave, while they took Tank to another area of the restaurant.
By the time the owner of the restaurant, Chris Neilsen, arrived on the scene, the Carnes party was already talking to police. No charges were filed, but “Tank” is no longer welcome on the premises.
“I didn’t want them to leave,” he said of the Carnes-Coburn party, “but I understand why they left. I’m miserable. My heart hurts for them.”
I hope Tank gets run over by a tank.
Here’s a photo of the Moosehead Bar, by the way, so you never, ever go there.