A racial profiling incident at a British Columbia Denny’s restaurant has caused many in the Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation to be highly alarmed, and for good reason.
According to lawyers representing Helaina Moses and Shane Hummel, the couple visited a Denny’s restaurant, and rather than being greeted by a delicious platter, were asked to pay before eating their meal.
The pair were visiting the Vancouver area from the Yukon for the weekend, and decided to take a quick stop at the Denny’s for a bite after a Friday night out.
That’s when things went sour.
“We weren’t even human enough to get a glass of water,” she told Yukon radio station CKRW 96.1 at the time. “[An employee] just slapped the bill down on the table and he said you have to pay upfront before we put your order in with the kitchen and me.”
According to CTV, It was at that point that Moses asked other customers who were already seated if they’d been asked to pay for their meal in advance. According to Moses, the other patrons had not been asked to do so.
According to a statement from the Community Legal Assistance Society’s Human Rights Clinic, who represents the couple, Moses believes that the two were singled out due to their indigenous background.
Moses told the radio station that she, “just felt so singled out, and violated, and embarrassed and it just really hurt my feelings and I stepped out to cry and my boyfriend followed me out after.”
Police then arrived soon after, where they said they’d received a complaint claiming the couple was armed with a knife. The Vancouver Police Department went on to say they never found any weapons.
According to CTV News, the pair filed a complaint to the BC Human Rights Tribunal. The case was scheduled to be heard by the tribunal at the end of last month, but Denny’s restaurant and the couple agreed to settle the complaint.
Lawyer letters do not state whether any money was given to Moses or Hummel. Within the agreement, it is stated that Denny’s would “provide the pair with an apology letter and vowed to give diversity training to staff by year’s end,” according to CTV.
“I’m happy that Denny’s staff will be getting anti-racism training,” said Moses. “Education that helps people identify their biases and ensure they’re treating people fairly and equally could go a long way.”
She said her “hope is that nothing like this ever happens again.”