A Wetherspoons customer claims staff at the famous pub chain accused her of being and talking too loud as they refused to serve her an alcoholic drink.
Sally Arathoon, 47, was visiting the Wheatsheaf Wetherspoon in Ellesmere Port, Merseyside, on Wednesday with her husband Scott and other family members following Scott’s mum’s funeral.
As Sally went to the bar to order her second alcoholic drink and a coffee for Scott, she was allegedly “refused” service by a staff member who reportedly accused Sally of being “drunk” as she “spoke too loud”.
The dad-of-three said his wife Sally suffers from Ménière’s disease, which is a rare disorder and symptoms include vertigo, tinnitus, pressure felt deep inside the ear and hearing loss, reports the Liverpool Echo.
Due to the rare condition, Sally has lost 55% of her hearing. Scott said this affects Sally’s speech, balance and other issues which often means Sally speaks loudly.
Scott said: “My wife had gone to get her second drink because she was watching me and making sure I was OK, she didn’t really drink, it was her second drink.
“She had gone to the bar and she looked at me and she looked mortified and she was shaking. She was shaking with her hands because when she gets anxious she shakes with her hands.
“When I have gone over there, there was another girl there, the woman behind the bar said ‘you’re drunk, you’re slurring’. My wife said ‘I can’t hear you, I am deaf’.”
Scott claims the staff member also told the couple she saw Sally “arguing with someone”, however Scott said this was not the case and Sally was only speaking loud due to her hearing loss.
During one point of the interaction Scott said his wife took out her hearing aids to show the staff member she was deaf and tried to explain how Ménière’s disease impacts her.
However despite this, Scott alleges the staff member said she thought she was “drunk” and Sally “sounded drunk”, so would not serve the 47-year-old. He claims other staff said Sally was fine and “looked quite shocked” by the interaction.
Sally has been unwell for around three years and was diagnosed with the rare condition which has caused her significant hearing loss in December last year. Due to this, Scott said the couple have rarely been out and now this incident has “knocked her confidence”.
Scott said: “Sally was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease in December after years and years and years of problems and losing her hearing. In February she got her first set of hearing aids, you have to use hearing aids in a phone app, where you can change your background hearing and all that but they’re never perfect.
“She either has to lip read, sometimes when it is quite bad her voice sounds quite slurred and has to lip read and look at people even with the hearing aids. So it has taken her some time to get used to. She has been very conscious of wearing them when we have gone out.
“We haven’t really been out and about in three years.”
Scott added: “The damage and humiliation has already been done, having to remove hearing aids to show her she was deaf in front of other people has left my wife embarrassed, humiliated and upset and not wanting to leave the house again today.”
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We are investigating the incident and cannot comment further at this stage. We will be happy to speak with the people concerned once we have fully investigated the incident.”