A MULTIPLE sclerosis sufferer was thrown out of a pub because bouncers thought he was drunk.
John Geraghty was ordered to leave when his body slumped forward in his wheelchair.
The 58-year-old’s carer tried to explain to staff at the Bright Helm pub in Brighton that John’s MS meant he could not control his movements.
But one doorman waved aside his protest, telling him: “I’m not a medical person.”
Former teacher John and his carer chose the Wetherspoons pub for a meal because it had disabled access.
But he said they were confronted by three burly security staff as soon as they got inside.
John, from Barton-le-Clay, Beds, said: “There’s this perception that if you’re in a wheelchair that there’s something wrong with your brain.
“My condition means that sometimes my body slumps forward and there’s nothing I can do about it.
“But because I’m in a wheelchair people think I’m mentally deficient.
“He (the security guard) was looking at me like I was an embarrassment. He made me feel terrible.”
John, from Barton-in-the-Clay, Beds., was diagnosed with MS in 2013 – an autoimmune disease which damages the nervous system’s ability to communicate with the brain and spinal cord.
Around 100,000 people in the UK have the condition, which causes a range of symptoms including mobility problems, muscle spasms and pain.
Because I’m in a wheelchair people think I’m mentally deficient
John had spent £1,650 on a 10-day trip to Brighton, East Sussex, for him and his carer Ross Scrivener, 68, over Christmas when they visited the Wetherspoons Bright Helm pub for a meal on December 30.
They’d struggled to find other eateries in the town with disabled access but John claims they were insulted almost immediately after entering the pub.
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“We went in for dinner and as we got to the door three burly security guards came over before one asked if I was drunk,” he said.
“Ross told him, ‘of course he’s not drunk’ before saying, ‘he’s got MS, it’s a severe form’.
“This man turned around and just said, “I said I’m not a medical person’, before asking us to leave.
“We were both humiliated and could not believe it.
“Even at the door, Ross pleaded with him and told him there was nowhere else for us to go but he just said ‘no’.”
John, who used to teach English and Religious Education to secondary school pupils, claims the doorman also accused him of being “inappropriately dressed”, after he turned up in shorts and long socks.
He hit back at the remark, claiming it’s too painful for him to wear trousers due to the sensitive nerve endings in his legs.
The security guard was looking at me like I was an embarrassment
“He said I was inappropriately dressed,” said John, who has written three books since his diagnosis.
“I can’t wear anything but shorts because the nerve endings in my legs make it too painful.
“My body can’t control temperature either so I’m better cold than I am hot.
“Why would someone in a wheelchair be wearing shorts in the middle of winter? Why would I not have shoes on and why would I be wearing ridiculous looking socks?
“It was dreadful. Neither of us were in any way rude and we told him it was the only place we could eat because everywhere else didn’t have ramps or lifts.
“He just told us to go away.”
Following the incident, Wetherspoons apologised to John, and Ross, and said it will now retrain its staff to make them more aware of MS.
A spokesman for Wetherspoons said: “We apologise to Mr Geraghty and also to his carer.
“Door staff at the pub genuinely believed he was intoxicated and for that reason refused him entry.
“However, we appreciate that was not the case, and that the decision rightly upset Mr Geraghty.
“We will be retraining our staff at The Bright Helm on this issue and also making staff at our other 900 plus pubs across the UK better aware of MS, so that this situation does not arise again.”
Wetherspoons claimed the two male Asperger’s sufferers denied entry last year did not have ID and said one swore as he approached the door.