A WOMAN says she was asked to leave a takeaway for being drunk when she actually has multiple sclerosis.
Marie Kelly, 19 – who has the degenerative nerve disorder, which makes her speech slurred and her walking uneven – was eating at Southern Fried Chicken on Charminster Road in Bournemouth.
She said she was asked to leave and then when she returned a few days later, the manager told her she was banned as she walked out.
Marie, from Charminster, said: “He still hasn’t given me a reason why. I can only put it down to him thinking I was drunk.
“The second time I had a bottle of Appletise and he thought it was beer.
“I don’t drink. He wouldn’t listen. This happens in quite a lot of shops. They look at me as if I am drunk.”
She added: “I want this to be out there so that everyone knows what MS is.”
Sister Sophiee-Leigh Kelly, 13, from Charminster, was there on the second occasion.
She said: “I tried to explain MS to him and that she can’t help the way she walks.
“He said: ‘You are not allowed in here, you are both drunk’.”
Mum Anne Lake, 52, from Boscombe , said: “It’s bad enough she has to live with MS and for this to happen is heart-breaking.”
Takeaway owner Zaki Marstani said that on the first occasion Marie came in she had been persistently asking for one of the staff – Marie said she wanted to return one of his belongings.
Mr Marstani also said he had been informed by his staff that Marie had only been drinking a soft drink the second time she visited.
Mr Marstani said: “I am sorry if she is not well, but I didn’t know.
“We don’t have any issues with anybody. If she wants to come here and sit down and talk about it I am quite happy to do so.
“I felt like it seemed like she is not a well-behaved person. If she is drunk, if she is smoking, I can’t say that, I can’t guess.
He said he is very alert to any potential bad behaviour – especially related to alcohol – because he wants a family-friendly business.
Multiple sclerosis and co-ordination
The MS Trust said: “Slurred speech and swaying whilst walking are typical symptoms of multiple sclerosis.
“MS causes damage to nerves, leading to muscle weakness and lack of co-ordination.
“Many people with MS find heat can make their symptoms worse.
“Sadly, Marie’s experience reflects the lack of public understanding about disability, and MS in particular.”
The MS Society said a survey of 1,419 people with MS carried out in March found 50 per cent had their symptoms mistaken for drunkenness.