Paris Café and Bakery incurred $10,000 damage after it was burglarized on Sunday evening. The Anchorage restaurant had previously been called out for racism in a Facebook post.
Michael Patterson, a waiter at the café, said: "They just poured bleach everywhere, it still smells like bleach. When I came in here this morning all of this was thrown everywhere, they robbed us they broke into the office back here they took the cash register back here."
The café is run by Patterson’s family. He maintained that a miscommunication over the weekend was responsible for his family losing money and their reputation.
He said, "It was being put on Facebook that we were being discriminatory against Alaska natives and I guess it spread. Almost immediately the same day within an hour or so we got nonstop calls of people telling us we are racist discriminatory that we are going to boycott your restaurant.”
Speaking about the incident, he stated that a woman had tried to buy food for two people who appeared homeless. Recalling the day’s earlier incident, the hostess told her that the meals would have to be taken to go.
He explained the decision to not allow them to eat in the restaurant: "That day, two hours before that, we had a deal with an individual off the street who started eating food off plates and when she was asked to leave she started throwing food at the waiter and customers. We're trying to create an environment where people want to eat."
The restaurant, which had just moved to a new downtown location, has to be closed, possibly for weeks.
He said, "This was a miscommunication that could have been easily talked about it then blows up over a period of time on Facebook and now you have a violent act."
He maintained that the situation could have been worse. The cut gas line could have seriously hurt him or his brother.
"I'm an Iraq war vet and my brother is an Afghan war vet that we can survive deployments and then we go to open the door to our work and a spark ignited and we could have been injured or killed because a miscommunication led to an escalation through Facebook, and then people took it upon themselves to commit an act of violence is stupid," he said.
He added: "My son is Alaska Native and if anyone treated my son like this my mom and my family we would be the first people to stand up and say something. So to be called racist almost on a daily basis you know for a variety of reasons because people don't like service it hurts."
Patterson maintained that he hopes more people will be open to healthy conversation that can lead to positive change.