Indigenous couple settles racism complaint against Denny's after alleging they were required to pay in advance for meals

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      When two members of the Na-Cho Nyäk Dun First Nation visited a West End Denny's restaurant for breakfast in November 2017, they were in for a shock.

      Helaina Moses and Shane Hummel said that staff wouldn't serve them unless they paid in advance.

      That led them to file complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

      And today, Moses and the Community Legal Assistance Society announced that Denny's has agreed to a settlement. They were represented by the society's human rights clinic.

      As a result, Moses and Hummel will receive a letter of apology and the restaurant has promised to provide antiracism and diversity training to its staff.

      “I’m happy that Denny’s staff will be getting antiracism training” Moses said in a news release. “I was very upset about what happened. My hope is that nothing like this ever happens again. Education that helps people identify their biases and ensure they’re treating people fairly and equally could go a long way.”

      The couple's First Nation is in the Yukon Territory and they were visiting Vancouver when the incident occurred.

      In a Facebook post in November 2017, Moses wrote that being asked to pay in advance felt offensive not only to her, but also to the restaurant's other customers.

      "I asked questions why...we were the only ones in the establishment that required payment before being served," she stated in 2017. "I felt violated. So I left to go outside."

      Moses disclosed in the Facebook post that her boyfriend joined her outside and was also upset.

      Shortly afterward things got worse when the Vancouver police arrived and asked them to show their weapons.

      "I was so shocked that they would say such a comment to us," Moses wrote in 2017. 

      It turned out that staff at the restaurant had phoned the police and claimed that the couple had a sharp object.

      A hearing was scheduled before the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal in June, but it never went ahead because of the settlement.

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