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Lawsuit: Black Man Asked to Prepay for Meal

An African American man who says he was asked to prepay for his meal at an Oregon restaurant despite white diners not having to has filed a $100,000 discrimination suit.

Brian Eason went to grab a meal at Elmer’s on Dec. 16 of last year. The 44-year-old real estate agent’s lawsuit claims that a waitress took his order, then “demanded that he prepay for his meal,” according to the lawsuit.

“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 on Wednesday.

Eason didn’t think anything of it until he ordered another drink and the waitress again wanted him to pay in advance.

“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.'”

Eason said the waitress was very apologetic, and he gave her a big tip and a $10 Starbucks gift card he planned to send to his clients.

Eason was writing Christmas cards at the time of incident.

Despite his waitress being remorseful, her comments bothered him. He went back to the restaurant 30 minutes later and walked up to a table where two white people were dining. He asked whether they’d been required to prepay for their meals. When they said they had not, he got their names and phone numbers.

This suit lists Karsan, Inc. and parent corporation Elmer’s Restaurants as defendants. A representative for Karsan referred questions to Elmer’s, which operates as an independent franchise.

Elmer’s did not supply media with a comment regarding the incident pending litigation, but said they were “actively looking” into the incident.

“At Elmer’s, we are proud to provide a welcoming Guest experience to everyone in the communities we serve,” wrote Jill Ramos, the chain’s director of restaurant support. “We are disappointed to hear about the complaint which occurred at one of our franchise-operated restaurants.”

Eason told the publication that he has “suffered loss of sleep” over the incident and has since had “feelings of racial stigmatization.”

“My office is right down the street there,” Eason said. “It’s a constant reminder of ‘They don’t want me in there.’ ”