Stewart Laidlaw (courtesy Dumfermline Press)
Scotland’s ban on smoking in pubs has backfired, so to speak, on a regular customer whose constant habit of breaking wind has now resulted in his expulsion from his favorite watering hole.
Stewart Laidlaw, 35, is being barred from Thirsty Kirsty’s in Dunfermline, Fife, for failing to control his flatulence.
“No one could smell anything when the pub was full of cigarette smoke,” Laidlaw told Wales on Sunday. “I never used to complain about the smell of their cigarette smoke, but now everyone complains about me. It’s just a natural thing. What can I do about it? I must be the first person in the country to get banned from a pub for passing wind. But it’s not a title I want. I certainly don’t see it as funny.”
The pub’s owner is crying foul, saying the stench has become unbearable since the country’s smoking ban went into effect last year. He thinks drinkers could have been breathing in the waft for years without ever noticing it.
Laidlaw says the ban just snuck up on him, taking him by complete surprise.
“I went in and basically he turned round and said, ‘Stewart, that’s the last fart you do in this pub. Get out.’ I didn’t even have a chance to draw breath,” he told the Dumfermline Press.
“I just walked in and that’s all he said to me. I don’t know if he meant I’d done it before or just then. He didn’t let me ask. What I remember when I walked in was there was a guy playing pool and it was already stinking and everyone was laughing. It could have been anyone. I’ve probably done it in the past – when you’re drinking and having a laugh you don’t think about it – but that’s not the point. I must be the first person in Dunfermline to get banned from a pub for passing wind. I’m really angry about the way I’ve been treated. He’s making a mountain out of a molehill.”
John Thow, the landlord at the pub, is blasting back, saying the long-term flatulence was beyond a joke.
“It is just disgusting,” he told the Press. “He revels in this and does it all the time and it’s absolutely foul, it would make you sick. Since the smoking ban he’s made a career out of this. He has been warned and asked politely to stop it on many occasions.
“We are a bus station pub and trying to keep new customers. The final straw was when an old gentleman came in and had his gin and tonic and the old guy was almost sick.
“Other people have dropped handbags, shall we say. But when everybody’s choking and I come out with the spray and say don’t do it again, they will appreciate that and stop it.
“His defense is, ‘It wasn’t all this when I had to put up with the smoking.’ Everybody can pass wind but when you make a hobby of it, it is going too far.
“He will clear the pub out usually and he thinks it is very funny. I don’t have to give him a reason for not serving him but I did, maybe thinking he would learn his lesson. But if he can’t see the error of his ways it’s a lost cause.
“I don’t want him back. I don’t need that behavior. It has been detected for about a year [since the smoking ban], but it might have been going on for a lot longer than that.
“If we have to apologize to other customers for him, then that’s too much.”