Elderly Linslade cancer patient left on ground after Tesco 'wouldn't provide chair outside'

The retired doctor was not comfortable sitting inside the "busy" supermarket due to the pandemic.

By Joanna Gravett
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 12:23 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th February 2022, 3:41 pm

An elderly Linslade man with cancer was left sitting on the ground outside Tesco supermarket, as he claims he was not allowed a chair.

Dr Rupert Fawdry, who turns 81 this month, accompanied his wife to the Vimy Road store on January 20 because he was desperate to leave the house for some fresh air.

He quickly bought a newspaper and headed outside, wishing to avoid busy shoppers due to the pandemic, but was dismayed to find no-where to sit.

Rupert Fawdry on the floor outside Tesco.

He told the LBO: "I was offered a seat by Tesco staff but only inside a relatively crowded store. Stupidly, against all common sense, Tesco apparently were not allowed to provide a seat to sit safely in the open air.

"It's complete lunacy and needs to go viral."

Rupert is fighting bone cancer and wanted to accompany his wife to the supermarket, so he could enjoy the sunshine and a change of scene.

The retired doctor suffers from breathlessness, so he was unable to walk to the nearest available seat, which he says was "a tennis court's" length away from Tesco.

The couple had arranged a taxi to the store, and Rupert felt he couldn't ask someone to fetch his wife and book a taxi home, because there was no good returning when the food shop wasn't finished.

He claimed: "I was told that they couldn't put a chair at the [taxi] pick up point because that was under the control of Homebase.

"Such is the goodwill of people who saw me [on the floor], about half of them offered to help if I needed help, and one lady at my request took the photo."

Rupert claims he was stuck on the ground for over one hour and that he is very disappointed with his treatment from Tesco.

He concluded: "They could offer me a seat inside, but that's dangerous - we know that Covid is spread like an aerosol or cigarette smoke.

"And there are so many people, not all elderly, who can only walk a short distance.

"The whole world seems to be bizarre. It was against all common sense."

A Tesco spokesman said: “We’re really sorry for the experience that Mr Fawdry had at our Leighton Buzzard store.

"Our store manager is looking at options for having a bench nearer to the store entrance because of the difficulty Mr Fawdry had getting to the seating in the car park.”

Following the publication of this article online, a number of readers questioned if Rupert could have sat on seats near the store entrance.

He told us that this option wasn’t highlighted to him by Tesco staff, adding: “Had there been any alternative place for me to sit which was close enough to where the taxi was due to pick me up I would certainly have sat there, so I don’t understand what seats they were talking about. In any case why not have a seat just at the pick up point?”

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