A COVENTRY man who was turned away from a Cornish pub after a medical condition was mistaken for drunkenness is to return there – after stopping at a pub in every city on his 300-mile journey.
Alex Barker, aged 43 of Paynes Lane, is returning to The Cutty Sark pub in Falmouth this evening (Friday) where he was refused service to raise money and awareness for two charities of his rare condition.
The IT worker who suffers from Moebius Syndrome and facial palsy – meaning he cannot show facial expression and his speech can sometimes appear slurred – stumbled as he walked into the Falmouth pub while on holiday on July 11, causing staff wrongly assume he was ‘under the influence’ and refuse to serve him.
And tonight Alex will embark on a 300-mile pub crawl through Coventry, Worcester, Bristol, Taunton, Exeter, Bodmin and Truro before arriving in Falmoth in the hopes of raising £10,000 for Changing Faces and the Facial Palsy UK charities.
Speaking about his plans, Alex said: “I’m going to have a drink in ten pubs on the way to Falmouth, but none of them will be alcoholic.
“I’m going to show that however I look, sound and walk, pubs should serve people like me.
“They shouldn’t rush to judgement to say that I’m drunk.”
His experience has already lead to a huge social media campaign led by the charity Changing Faces, which called on pubs across the country to commit to ‘#ServeAlex’.
Karen Johnson, Deputy Chief Executive of Facial Palsy UK, said that pubs and bars across the country have a legal duty to ensure they are not discriminating against people because of a medical condition.
She added: “People living with facial palsy live with prejudice and discrimination every day of their lives, and day in day out we hear stories similar to Alex’s.
“If his trip back to Cornwall prevents one person having the same experience as he did then that’s a great result, but the hope is that many more will benefit.”
More information on Alex’s trip and a link to donate can be found at www.servealex.co.uk and his journey can be followed on Twitter using the hashtag #ServeAlex.