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She wanted a Toyota; she got a toy Yoda



Published: Sun, July 29, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



She wanted a Toyota;she got a toy Yoda

PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- 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., owner 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.

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.

New president takesoath of office in Peru

LIMA, Peru -- Alejandro Toledo, Peru's first freely elected president of Indian descent, was sworn into office Saturday, promising to remain true to his roots and govern for the nation's poor.

Toledo's assumption of the presidency seals the former shoeshine boy's remarkable rise and completes Peru's return to democracy after a decade of authoritarian rule by disgraced ex-President Alberto Fujimori.

"My government will never again permit the dignity of the poor to be stolen through political manipulation," Toledo told the packed Congress, with its elegant mahogany balconies, grand arches and huge stained-glass ceiling.

Lawmakers, judges, ministers and more than two dozen foreign dignitaries, including 11 Latin American presidents, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, cheered when he took the oath of office "for the poor of Peru."

Mom accused of lockingdaughter in shed

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A mother has been charged with locking her mentally disabled adult daughter in a wooden shed up to 12 hours a day for as long as two years.

Maria Isabel Eugenio, 64, told police she worked at a carwash and couldn't afford to pay someone to care for her 40-year-old daughter. She was charged with abusing a dependent adult and false imprisonment.

"I had asked God for help, but I simply ran out of time," Maria Eugenio told the San Jose Mercury News. "I had to do something to keep her safe."

Sheriff's deputies found Socorro Eugenio padlocked inside a wooden trailer with a 5-gallon bucket in place of a toilet. She was reportedly kept there six days a week in temperatures estimated to be above 100 degrees.

Deputies, who used an ax to break the lock, said the woman was dirty and unwilling to be coaxed from the building.

Officials say the mother was unfamiliar with social service programs and feared seeking help would hinder her daughter from gaining U.S. citizenship.

Cocaine seized

FORT-DE-FRANCE, Martinique -- In what France called one of its biggest cocaine seizures on record, officers in the French Caribbean seized 2 tons of cocaine from a Venezuelan fishing trawler.

French Navy ships and surveillance aircraft tracked the trawler for six days before boarding the vessel Friday, said Michel Cadot, the top French official on Martinique.

The trawler, called the Carolina, roused suspicions when it was first spotted in the Caribbean 500 miles north of South America.

According to Bertrand Bonneau, French military spokesman, the ship was not properly outfitted for fishing. Surveillance confirmed that the crew was not casting nets or lines as the trawler erratically crisscrossed Caribbean waters.

Associated Press




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