A Multnomah County, Oregon resident took his embarrassing experience at a local diner to court after he was told he had to prepay for his meal.
Vancouver realtor and Multnomah County sheriff’s deputy Brian Eason ordered breakfast at Elmer’s Restaurant in Vancouver, WA last year. Eason, who is Black, said he was discriminated against when a waitress asked him to pay for his meal before he received it.
Oregon Live reports:
“I was kind of curious about it and said ‘Well, is that new?’ And she said ‘Yes, we had a few walk-aways and my boss asked me to ask for prepayment,” Eason told The Oregonian/OregonLive on Wednesday.
Eason didn’t think anything of it, he said, until he later ordered another drink and the waitress again wanted prepayment.
“I said ‘This is kind of odd that I have to prepay every time I order my food and drink,’” Eason recounted. “She said, ‘I think it’s discrimination and my boss is here, and she’s forcing me to have me do this.’”
Bothered, Eason went back into the restaurant after leaving a tip and a Starbucks gift card for the waitress and asked other White customers if they received the same treatment – they hadn’t.
In turn, Eason filed a discriminatory lawsuit against the restaurant, demanding $100,000 in damages.
Jill Ramos, director of restaurant support, admitted a prepaid option doesn’t exist.
“There is no Elmer’s policy requiring any guest to pre-pay for their meal. We have taken steps to ensure that the franchisee has ended this practice,” she said.
A statement reads, “At Elmer’s, we are proud to provide a welcoming guest experience to everyone in the communities we serve. We are disappointed to hear about the complaint which occurred at an Elmer’s location owned and operated by one of our franchisees.
Elmer’s has since responded to the suit, claiming Eason was asked to prepay because he sat in the lounge section of the restaurant and ordered alcohol with his meal.
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