If you look at the menu for Hardees’ breakfast platter—as you might be wont to do if you were craving a quick, affordable morning meal—you’ll notice that along with two slices of bacon, two scrambled eggs, and two biscuits sopped in sausage gravy, you’ll also get roughly a half dozen hash rounds.
Beloved reader, that is not what 58-year-old Tommy Martin says he got.
The Mount Holly, N.C., resident received just two (two!) hash rounds on an order he placed on May 30, a decision he believes was racially motivated, according to the Charlotte Observer (h/t Huffington Post). As a result, he’s filed a lawsuit against the fast-food chain this week, accusing the restaurant of violating his civil rights.
It might sound like a bit much—over four damn hash rounds!—so here, without commentary or judgment, is what Martin says happened (Hardees, home of Thickburgers and high cholesterol, hasn’t commented on the case yet):
Martin tells the Observer that once he saw the destitute display of hash rounds, he asked a cashier for more—and it appeared the employee was going to give him the correct amount until a manager stepped in. The manager, who is white, refused Martin’s request, telling him, “That what you get.” According to the hand-written lawsuit Martin filed, he was the only black customer in the restaurant at the time.
While the manager did end up refunding Martin’s order, he says he still feels deeply hurt by the incident, telling the Observer the scene felt like it belonged in the 1960s, when restaurants across the South refused to serve black customers.
According to the Jacksonville Daily News, which cites Martin’s lawsuit, he developed cibophobia—a fear of food—after the being refused the hash rounds, and now refuses to eat in public.
“It’s not a money issue,” Martin told the Observer. “I just want to be treated fairly.”
Here’s my very personal opinion: I would be delighted if the absence of four (four!) hash rounds resulted in a handsome payout, and I would count a payout of $19.99 as handsome considering the value (financially and taste-wise) of a Hardees hash round. But as much as I want a payout for Mr. Martin, what I really want for him, regardless of the outcome of his suit, is a lifetime of better, much better, breakfasts—may I recommend Bojangles?