Church Pickets Restaurant After Members Arrested for Not Paying Bill

| by Michael Allen

Willie Lewis, 85, and her adult daughter Ruthena Lewis were recently arrested for allegedly not paying their check at the A&G Restaurant in Winter Haven, Fla.

Ruthena reportedly walked Willie out to their car and went back inside the restaurant to settle the $18.46 bill on Jan. 14.

According to, Ruthena gave the cashier her credit card, but then pushed the cancel button on the credit card swipe machine.

That's when Ruthena told the cashier that she would go to heaven if the meal was free, or go to hell if she ran the credit card again, notes

Ruthena gave the cashier a card with the name of her church pastor, Bishop Joseph Lewis of the Church of God the Bible Way, and claimed he would pay the bill.

Ruthena and her mother then drove off, but a restaurant employee wrote down their her license number.

Police later arrested the mom and daughter.

Willie Lewis, who was in the car when Ruthena allegedly refused to pay, had $80 in her purse.

Bishop Joseph Lewis paid the women’s bill after being told by the restaurant owner George Paragios that he would ask police to drop the charges, but Paragios refused to do so on Jan 18.

In response, members of the Church of God the Bible Way have been picketing the A&G Restaurant.

They should not have treated [Willie] that way," said Bishop Joseph Lewis. "This woman is a pillar in the community she lives in."

Willie added, "I couldn't see anything from out there [in the car]."

The picketing has created racial tension, as black church members yell back and forth with white customers.

Willie and Ruthena Lewis’ court date is March 4.

Sources: and