Hey, ‘Distressing’ Is The New Magic Word..

Ben Gerrard’s condition forces him to make sudden involuntary movements and to blurt out words without warning.

He has Tourettes.

But after suffering a bout of tics in Aird and Co tool shop in Bond Street, Brighton, on Wednesday afternoon, the 40- year-old was ordered to leave by owner Bob Carey.

Oh noes! Disability unkindness! Next stop, the Outrage! Bus…

Furious Mr Gerrard said he was “utterly appalled” by the incident, which left him shaken and angry.
Mr Gerrard told the owner he had Tourette’s and was not making the noises deliberately but the shopkeeper was unmoved.

He said: “It’s a disgrace that a man of his age could be so cruel. I was so shocked.”

I’m not entirely sure what his age has to do with it…

Mr Carey, who runs Aird and Co tool shop, said he had been “perfectly entitled” to throw Mr Gerrard out of his shop.

He said: “He was being disruptive. I know what Tourette’s is but there’s no excuse for just making silly noises. ”


I think Mr Carey has based his knowledge of Tourettes on TV shows and comedy sketches. It can, indeed, just be ‘making silly noises’.

“He didn’t seem to have any need to be there. We had other customers in the shop and he was causing a disturbance.

“I found it distressing and I asked him to leave.”

Aha! So this is really just a case of ‘Aren’t you going to buy anything? If not, sod off!’ from the typical British shopkeeper?

Outrage! Bus disembarking here…

8 comments for “Hey, ‘Distressing’ Is The New Magic Word..

  1. richard
    June 1, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Why give a reason. Just turf the tic laden bugger out. You don’t need a reason to sod someone off out of the place.
    And apparently, You seem to have forgotten the main purpose of a shop. Browsing yes, with a view to a possible future purchase but hanging about and not doing anything? Seems to me the Tourettes laden ticker was just looking to be made a victim.

  2. amfortas
    June 2, 2013 at 1:50 am

    I suppose if the poor chap had irritable bowel syndrome and dropped his kecks for a crap in the middle of the shop’s floor, the owner would do something outrageous too. Is there no limit to how offended the disabled can be?

    • amfortas
      June 2, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Oh dear, I have just revisited and noticed. The chap in the OP had irritable vowel syndrome.


      (hehehehe. Sorreeee)

  3. June 2, 2013 at 5:31 am

    It doesn’t say in the article whether Gerrard showed the shopkeeper the card saying “Tourette’s”. That being said, a shopkeeper has the right to eject people from his shop, full stop.

  4. June 2, 2013 at 5:51 am

    Completely agree with the commenters here. Don’t know if I misread this, Julia but I think he had every right, moral or otherwise to throw the man out. There’s a syndrome that people can be labelled all sorts of disability and if it’s on the list, then you can’t touch ’em. So they can make your life a misery and you have to put up with it by law.

    Why should anyone have to? There’s a fine line between libertarianism which says I have to put up with absolutely all behaviour from everyone because that is libertarian and another point of view, called classical liberalism, which says that I should just let people get on with their lives but not when it is directly intrusive and disruptive to mine. In that case they can just sod off.

    Blurting out truths is another matter – that’s what this blog should do. It’s healthy. I’ve done it many times but at the same time, I expect to have to get my coat and leave.

    • June 2, 2013 at 9:32 am

      James, that’s exactly my point. No ‘disability hate crime’ here at all …

      • June 2, 2013 at 10:26 am

        Thought I’d misread you. I had. Keep it simple for us over here – nothing too subtle now.

  5. Furor Teutonicus
    June 2, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    XX “I found it distressing and I asked him to leave.” XX

    Aha. “Victimhood poker” here?

    Tourettes beats stress when the stressed is not clinicaly confirmed?

    Would stress and atheletes foot win against torettes and a common cold, or would you need at least one didgit amputated?

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