Search icon


20th Jun 2023

‘I was kicked out of the gym for staring at a woman working out – but I’m blind’

Steve Hopkins

He had his cane with him but the woman didn’t believe him

A blind teenager was branded a creep at a gym and told to leave by staff after a woman accused him of staring at her.

Toby Addison was born sighted, but from age 11 started to lose his vision. By his early teens, he had lost 80 per cent of his sight and the 21-year-old now has around 4 per cent remaining.

His loss of vision has left him in some awkward situations, one of which he spoke about on the Happy Hour Podcast.

Age 17, Toby visited a gym for the first time and was part way through a workout when he was approached by a woman who accused him of staring at her.

Toby, who had a cane with him, told the podcast that he tried to explain that he was blind, but the woman didn’t believe him and called him a creep. She then asked gym staff to remove him.

Toby explained the situation on the Happy Hour Podcast, saying: “I don’t really know where I am looking a lot of the time unless I am talking to someone like I know that I’m talking to you so I am trying to look in your direction.

“So I was just staring straight ahead and unfortunately there was a woman doing some exercises. I don’t know what she was doing, whether it was some squats or whatever, where you may be in a more vulnerable position maybe and don’t want to be stared at.”

Toby said the woman came over to him, “and I didn’t know she was talking to me at first because I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m just doing my thing”.

He continued: “She said something along the lines of ‘Why do you keep staring at me? Stop. Don’t be so creepy’.

“I was like ‘Oh no sorry, I’m blind’. I had my cane with me, it was folded up in my lap but she wasn’t having any of it.”

Toby added that there is now a culture of trying to catch people out for staring at and recording people during their workouts.

He said he suspected the woman thought his cane was a prop as part of his disguise to creep on women.

Toby told the podcast he left the gym and never returned.

“It was rough, it knocked my confidence a lot and made me feel like being blind is a problem, that it causes problems.”

Toby has since become a TikTok star and regularly posts to his 255,000 followers about his life as a blind person.

Watch the Happy Hour Podcast here.

Related links: