Mum slams B&M after autistic son, 15, 'kicked out of store' for touching lamp

By Fahad Tariq

A mum is boycotting a B&M branch - after telling how her 15-year-old autistic son was "kicked out" of one of its stores.

Natalie Birks said she left the Longton, near Stoke-on-Trent, store in tears and without completing her shop following the incident with son Brandon on September 17, reports Stoke on Trent Live.

The 33-year-old, from Bentilee, said: “We walked in and first of all we walked over to the lava lamps which he wanted.

“There was a massive sign on these lamps saying ‘please try me’. He went to touch one of them to show me how it works and this woman shouted ‘don’t touch that’. He was confused and said ‘why’. She said ‘because I said so’. I was like okay, fair enough.

“I asked him ‘is that the one you want?’. He said ‘yeh’ and he put it in the trolley. We went to walk over to the toy aisle but we didn’t make it to that aisle because a worker came running up to us and said to my son ‘you need to leave right now’.

“I said ‘what’s he done?’ and they said he was trying to touch things. I said he has got autism.

“When he gets excited he flaps his hands. He doesn’t understand much and was confused when he was asked to leave. I said he could not leave by himself because of his autism and he wouldn’t know where to go. He would end up getting run over.

“They told me we all needed to leave. In my eyes he didn’t do anything wrong. All he did was touch a lava lamp.”

Natalie has lodged a complaint with B&M. She says the member of staff also accused her son of ‘trying to steal’ - an allegation which she completely refutes.

B&M staff reportedly asked them to leave (Ian Cooper/North Wales Live)

The mother-of-three added: “I was upset and crying. He was confused more than anything. He went in thinking he was going to pick some things and he came out with nothing. One of the ladies who worked there was lovely. She came out to us and made sure we were okay.

“He has autism so touching things is the only way he could tell me that he wants them. Everybody touches things. How are you meant to pick anything if you can’t touch it?

“Autism is totally different for everyone. It feels like he is being discriminated against for having autism and for being the way he is. I complained to the customer service.

“He hadn’t got his coat on, he had his Ipad in one hand, and he was trying to touch a lava lamp with the other hand; he wouldn’t know how to steal.

“I will not be going to that branch. It’s not fair that my son should feel victimised. We were only in there for three minutes before we were kicked out. You can’t always see disabilities.”

The Mirror has contacted B&M regarding Natalie's complaint.


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