Wetherspoons defends decision to refuse to let two homeless men in for breakfast

‘The manager said they have banned all homeless people and they even said if someone comes in who is smelly they would refuse to serve them'

Tom Bevan,Shannon Hards
Monday 06 August 2018 11:05
Comments
‘I just thought how can a big company like that treat people like this. How can someone do that to two innocent people?’
‘I just thought how can a big company like that treat people like this. How can someone do that to two innocent people?’

A Wetherspoons pub has been accused of refusing to serve breakfast to two homeless men.

Christopher Finch, 23, and his friend Ryan, 22, were turned away by staff after accepting the offer of a cooked breakfast from a woman they met whilst sleeping rough.

Jenny Rimmer, 45, said she approached the youngsters who were sitting outside a shop with all their belongings because they were a similar age to her son.

She said she felt sorry for the men and reached out to them on Sunday morning to see if they would like a hot meal.

Having gratefully accepted, Jenny entered the Try Dowr J D Wetherspoon branch in Truro, Cornwall, with her friend, Chris and Ryan but, before they could order, they claim staff told the group that they weren’t welcome.

Mother-of-one Jenny said she was later told by staff there was a ban on homeless people, which included anyone who “smelled a bit”. She said: “I went out for drinks for my mate’s birthday and I saw Chris and his friend sitting outside a shop with all their belongings.

“I really felt for them because they were almost my son’s age [21] – I thought this could be my son sitting there and that they are somebody’s son.

“We swapped numbers so I called Chris the next morning and offered to take him for breakfast.

“We went to the bar in Wetherspoons with Chris and his friend Ryan, who is also homeless and even before we ordered they said I’m sorry I can’t serve you because I know you are homeless.

“I said hang on – I’m trying to do a nice thing here and explained that they had a rough night so I was trying to make sure they have a good meal.

“The manager said that they’ve had too many problems with homeless people over the last week but I know which group that would have been because they have been a major problem in Truro.

“Chris and Ryan had only been here for three days and they weren’t smelly, noisy or rowdy.

“The manager said they have banned all homeless people and they even said if someone comes in who is smelly they would refuse to serve them.

“I was so gobsmacked and gutted for the lads.

“They had their breakfasts but they gave them takeaway boxes without any cutlery and there was beans and egg in the breakfast so I went back and asked for something to eat it with.

“The guy behind the bar was lovely but because he works there he had to go by the ridiculous policy. He gave them metal knives and forks and said don’t worry about bringing them back.

“I was disgusted – so many people will be gutted.”

Chris who had recently moved back to Cornwall from Plymouth said he left the pub feeling suicidal.

He added: “I was born in Treliske and lived here for three years.

“I lost my dad when I was 14 and the only memories I have are of him sick in Treliske but now I don’t feel welcome in my hometown.

“I was living in Plymouth but burnt all my bridges with my family.

“I was arguing with them all the time and staying with my auntie who is older but I didn’t want to cause any more stress so I decided to leave.

“I was disgusted I felt like crying my eyes out. I felt two inches tall and a bit suicidal to be honest.

“I just thought how can a big company like that treat people like this. How can someone do that to two innocent people?”

Despite the criticism a representative for Wetherspoons said they stood by the staff’s decision.

Spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “There are always two sides to every story and having the account from staff at the pub, we back their decision.

“There had been an incident outside the pub the previous day involving acquaintances of the homeless men and the staff member felt uncomfortable letting them into the pub.

“Instead the staff member offered to provide a takeaway breakfast for them and when she took the food out one of the men was abusive and aggressive towards her.

“Staff at the pub are good, decent people, and some of the derogatory comments on social media are uncalled for.”

SWNS

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