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Thrown out of a pub for being drunk?



Young woman with brain damage goes with her mum to have a drink and gets thrown out for being drunk! Even with a headway card.

That's awful, even with information that she had a BI still throw her out.

For the first few months my walk was often and still can be if dark and tired fairly drunken, I do remeber seeing people look scared at me, and shuffle away. Bar the young teens/twenties who would give me a 2nd look and come up and ask if I needed help.

I'm sure most of us can relate in some way.

14 Replies

typical! as an ex waitress and bar person i can say that! i bealive its called listening and reading!

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Hi Roger,

When I first saw the post title I thought it was you who had been thrown out ! : ))

Unfortunately, it does seem to be human nature to be judgemental and make assumptions. I'm sure I have been guilty of it pre BI, simply due to not being aware that brain problems can manifest as symptoms similar to those seen in alcohol/ drug use.

Now that I am a member of the drunken walk/cognitive problem clan, it has enlightened me and given me a different perspective. So, maybe forgiveness the first time round but after production of the card it should have been accepted.

However, I believe the young lady did swear at bar staff, before the production of the card, which certainly will not have gone in her favour. This puts them in a difficult position, although the card states that behaviour problems may be encountered, other customers rights also have to be respected and they will have their own policies on verbal abuse. So a bit of a grey area.

Best way to avoid misunderstandings/ provoking an anger response would have been to take the card with her to the bar in the first place, rather than assuming that staff will recognise a BI as opposed to the effects of alcohol. Hopefully, she will do this next time.

My partner has a 'mushy' voice due to the stroke he had a few years back and has been questioned at bars that are unfamiliar with him. There was an incident on the phone when someone was having difficulty understanding him and asked ' Have you been drinking , Sir ?' It is never nice to be accused of this when you have a genuine problem but it can happen. Best way to deal with it is to be upfront and set them straight in a matter of fact way, even though it can leave you feeling rather hurt and angry.

If you make allowances for their mistake before your explanation, they will make allowances for your condition, afterwards. : ) x


That's the point - she did take the card to the bar, and was thrown out despite showing it to the bar staff!


Hi Robb,

The way in which the article was written appears to say that at first, the young lady asked for service without the card, before producing the card to the manager, having already sworn at 'bar staff' (presumably meaning more than one member ) for refusing to serve her, as they thought she was intoxicated. Now I am aware that anger issues can be the result of BI, question being does disability excuse the use of verbal abuse to staff, in a public setting ?

Had she gone to the bar with the card as evidence in the first place, I'm sure she would have been served with no problems.

I am surprised that in the Headway article, no mention of verbal abuse appears at all.

I do feel that there are two sides to this story and that the young lady did not handle the misunderstanding well, perhaps as a result of frontal lobe damage.My partner has slurred speech from a stroke but does not have a Headway card. In an unfamiliar bar, he will usually ask a friend to order for him. x


Hi angelite,

That's not the impression I got from the article on the bbc website (which I'd read before Roger's email). They say:

But Miss Stoton was refused service at the bar, despite showing a card explaining her medical condition.

Pub owner J D Wetherspoon said: "This was an error and one which we wholeheartedly apologise for."

They did say she swore at the bar staff, but didn't say whether this was before or after showing the card.

If it was before showing it, you have a good point but if it was after showing it, yes, it does excuse the verbal abuse. Whether she is brain damaged or has any other disability, the bar staff have no excuse for discrimination.


Hi Rob,

I think this was a cleverly written piece of journalism and worded in such a way as to be open to individual interpretation.

I took my cue from '( Danielle ) was still asked to leave after showing the pub's manager a card detailing the effects of her injuries'.

I totally agree that if she had shown bar staff the card when she first went to order it would be outright discrimination not to have served her.

All the best for the festive season,

Angela x


robhh i had a smile on my face when i read the bit about swearing at staff.....myy bi left with a continual swear gene, so if i do go to a pub which is very rare, my wife goes to the bar.

wetherspoons are notorously sloow and i have shouted to my wife are they kin brewing it , but nobodys ever said anything


Thanks for posting this Roger, we've released a statement on our website about it and will be offering to support J D Wetherspoon in training their staff: headway.org.uk/news/nationa...

Best wishes,



What is a Headway card?


its a card you get when you join headway the national charity rather than the local one as such.

I recently got one can't say I'm that liable to use it but I do have it, 2nd photo in the bbc articular shows one


Lets hope this doesnt knock her confidence too much!

i have had similar expience in the past, I found it embarrassing being pulled tobone side when paying to get in a club or standing at the bar! It always upset me, my BI causes me to walk differetly so basically I always look drunk!

i used to feel ashamed of my self for walking that way, not that its was my fault! People are idiots hope it doesnt knock her confidence too much x


The way people are darn quick to assume! Maybe they should ask are they okay, rather than say, oh he/she is drunk


That is horrible how this girl got thrown out, the owner or whoever it was should get in big trouble for that.

I can probably appear to others as drunk with my walking at times but now that I have a walking stick, I am hoping the stick can disguise the drunk-like walk in some ways :).

One of my friends from Headway has balance issues too, I think it is a bit of vision with her as well but she was telling me one time how she was in a shop and was at the end of an aisle and lost her balance.

She felt a little embarrassed but others probably pictured her as drunk. I said, for a laugh, she should have giggled to herself and hiccuped :).


Me too Matt - the wonky walk means I am often looked at sideways (have even had people cross the road to avoid me) if I am daft enough to go out without my stick. This Christmas in the Cathedral was a case in point: it is a long way up the nave but I rarely take my stick when going up for communion and of course at Midnight Mass there were quite a lot of non-regulars there who assumed, from the giggles, that I was off to the communion rail to top up my alcohol levels!

Mind you I remember as a student having an issue with a taxi driver who dropped me short of my digs because he reckoned I was drunk: I was having trouble walking, had slurred speech, and probably didn't help matters when I threw up on leaving the taxi. But in fact I simply had a migraine!!

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