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Hooters Waitress Sues Over Toy Yoda

July 29, 2001

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) _ Oh, what a feeling. Toy Yoda!

A former Hooters waitress has sued the restaurant where she worked, saying she was promised a new Toyota for winning a beer sales contest.

Instead, she said, she won a new toy Yoda _ the little green guy from the ``Star Wars″ movies.

Jodee Berry, 26, won a contest to see who could sell the most beer in April at the Hooters in Panama City Beach. She said the top-selling waitresses from each Hooters restaurant in the area were entered into a drawing and her name was picked.

She believed she’d won a new car.

She was blindfolded and led to the restaurant parking lot, but when her blindfold was removed she found she was the winner not of a Toyota, but a toy Yoda doll.

Inside the restaurant, the manager was laughing, Berry said. She wasn’t.

``A corporation can’t lead their employees on like that,″ Berry said. ``It’s not good business ethics. They can’t do that to people.″

Berry quit the restaurant a week later.

She sued Gulf Coast Wings, Inc., owners of the restaurant, alleging breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation. Her lawyer, Stephen West of Pensacola, said he was also looking at false advertising statutes.

She’s seeking as compensation the cost of a new Toyota.

Stuart Houston, a spokesman for the company, said it hadn’t been served with the lawsuit and he could not comment.

Berry said restaurant manager Jared Blair told his waitresses he didn’t know what kind of Toyota it would be _ a car, truck or van _ but told them the winner would be responsible for the tax on the vehicle.

Blair, reached at the restaurant Saturday, said he had no comment.

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