When a man was accused of being a creep and making a woman feel very uncomfortable at the gym, he tried to offer an explanation for what he did. However, no one accepted his excuse, and he was immediately asked to leave.
While speaking on the “Happy Hour Podcast,” 21-year-old Toby Addison recalled the mortifying moment he was kicked out of the gym years prior. According to Toby, he was accused of “creepily” staring at a woman while he was simply “minding his own business.” As he was doing a workout, he heard a woman say, “Oh, do you like the view?”
However, according to Toby, there was one huge problem with that accusation. It wasn’t possible for Toby to be “staring” at anyone due to a disability that he suffered, which the woman had obviously missed. You see — no pun intended — Toby Addison is blind, even though he doesn’t look like it.
In fact, he’s known for sharing his life as a blind person on his TikTok account, @blindtobes, according to the NY Post. Making matters worse, at the moment the accusation was made, Toby says he even had his can laying on his lap.
“Obviously, I don’t really know where I’m looking a lot of the time,” Toby explained during the podcast as he discussed his visual impairment. “I was just staring right ahead, and unfortunately, there was a woman doing some exercises,” he recalled, adding that he obviously didn’t know what kind of exercises she was doing.
When Toby realized the woman had come over to talk to him, he was shocked. “I didn’t know she was talking to me at first because [I wasn’t] doing anything wrong,” the psychology and counseling student, who lives in Chichester, England, admitted. “She said something along the lines of: ‘Why do you keep staring at me? Stop, don’t be so creepy.'”
With his cane folded up nearby, Toby immediately tried to reassure the woman that he wasn’t gawking at her by explaining that he was blind, but he said she “wasn’t having any of it.” Of course, Toby wishes the woman had been more understanding even though he can understand why the woman wanted to call him out for making her uncomfortable.
“There’s a bit of a culture around [catching and calling] out gym creeps,” Toby acknowledged but added that his disability presents a unique problem. Toby realizes that his eyes tend to “stare into the distance” sometimes when he’s concentrating on something, which he realizes is likely why the woman thought he was staring, but he wasn’t.
“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,” Toby said, explaining his condition to the podcast hosts. He also addressed the issue in a TikTok video for his followers.
@blindtobes The thought of these situations make me pretty nervous 😬 #blindtok #blind #disabled #disabledtok #retinitispigmentosa #accessibility #fyp #visuallyimpaired #gym #gymtok #fitness #joeyswoll #awareness #bodybuilding @Joey Swoll ♬ Storytelling – Adriel
Sadly, rather than listening to Toby’s explanation, the woman allegedly told him to “shut up” before she went off to find a manager, who then asked the gym-goer, who was a guest of a friend at the gym that day, to leave. Toby complied, walking out with the use of his cane, which shockingly didn’t seem to change any minds that day. Thankfully, Toby said he has since developed a “good relationship” with the staff at his current gym, so such a misunderstanding isn’t likely to occur there.
However, Toby’s story speaks to another problem — and it’s one he’s acknowledged as an active gym-goer. “It’s so sad that some women feel uncomfortable or anxious when in the gym because of a small percentage of people who have acted inappropriately,” Toby said. “It’s also really sad that awareness around disabilities just isn’t good enough at the minute, and when you mix the two together you make situations like I described way more likely to occur.”
Replying to @Just_an_average_joe Hopefully this clears up some questions you guys had on my poor gym experience #blindtok #blind #disabled #disabledtok #retinitispigmentosa #accessibility #fyp #visuallyimpaired #gym #gymtok #fitness #joeyswoll #awareness #bodybuilding @Joey Swoll
Toby Addison definitely has a point. Women have been given a reason to be suspicious of men, especially at the gym, where they are vulnerable. However, making an assumption about someone else’s intent isn’t the answer either. For each story about a woman being attacked, there’s a counter-story about a man who’s faced wrongful and even downright false allegations for things they didn’t do.
Perhaps, the lesson to be learned here is that assumptions should be avoided. But, if we’re being honest, we know that we are all guilty of making them. In that case, when we stand corrected like this woman and gym manager were, we should be willing to eat a big ole helping of humble pie. That’s the real tragedy here. A better understanding could have been reached by all parties. Instead, ego got in the way, and it certainly sounds like this female was too proud to admit she was wrong.