TOLEDO (WTOL) - The owner of a local restaurant who has been prevented from coming back to the United States from South Korea is now finally able to come back home.
Don Yi, owner of the Tea Tree Asian Bistro in Perrysburg, has been stuck in South Korea since the beginning of February.
Yi says he went to South Korea for his father’s funeral, but when he tried to return home, they put a travel ban on him.READ MORE: 'They had put a travel ban on me, and I didn’t know why’: Perrysburg restaurant owner being prevented from leaving S. Korea
“They had put a travel ban on me, and I didn’t know why. No one knew why. But I found out it was the Seoul police,” he told WTOL back when it happened.
It was later found out that in South Korea, all men between the ages of 18 and 28 are required to serve two years in the military. U.S. citizens are usually granted waivers, but the South Korean government says Yi, now 40, did not inform them when he turned 18 of his decision to remain in the U.S.
Yi came to the United States when he was 9 years old. He served eight years in the United States Army, which included two tours in Afghanistan.
After being stuck in Seoul alone with no money for about a month, Yi says he will finally be able to come home.
This was the latest post on his Facebook page:
He later found out that he will be able to come back to the United States on Mar. 4 around 10:40 p.m.
“I’m elated, anxious, nervous, grateful, happy, and I feel blessed that I had so many people concerned about me,” Yi told WTOL through Facebook messenger. “At first this whole thing seemed like a nightmare, but I think I came to see it in a new light. This became a chance for me to see my community come together. See so much good in others. And meet so many good people. It wasn’t easy but it was a journey that maybe I needed.”