An Oregon woman who was discriminated against by a gas station employee was awarded $1 million in damages, NBC News reports.
Rose Wakefield, 63, said she stopped for gas at Jacksons Food Store in Beaverton on March 12, 2020, and noticed that the attendant, Nigel Powers, was ignoring her and pumping gas for other customers. When asked for assistance, he said, “I’ll get to you when I feel like it.” As NBC News points out, attendants are required to pump fuel for customers at gas stations in Oregon’s larger population centers including Portland and the nearby suburb of Beaverton.
When Wakefield asked Powers why he refused to help her, he replied, “I don’t serve Black people.”
“I was like, ‘What world am I living in?’ ” Wakefield told KGW. “This is not supposed to go down like that. It was a terrible, terrible confrontation between me and this guy.”
Wakefield’s attorneys say Powers was later fired — for only for using his cellphone while at work and was never disciplined for his behavior towards Wakefield.
A statement from Jacksons Food Stores Thursday said the company has a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination but disagrees with the jury’s ruling because “our knowledge does not align with the verdict.”
“After carefully reviewing all facts and evidence, including video surveillance, we chose to take this matter to trial because we were comfortable based on our knowledge that the service-related concern actually reported by the customer was investigated and promptly addressed,” the statement said.
Wakefield was also awarded $550,000 in punitive damages.
Watch KGW8’s report on the story below: