Tourette’s in hospitality is not simplisTIC.

I’ve been diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome for thirteen years and I’ve worked in hospitality for nearly a decade. I’m only twenty-three! But in this short pre-career I’ve had many interesting interactions and reactions to my tics. So I’m going to take this opportunity to provide everyone with just a handful of the down-right crazy responses I’ve had over my tenure working in pubs, hotel’s and restaurants.

*Majority of the times I like to work in a louder environment to prevent people hearing my “hmm” tic as it’s the one that scares me the most.

Anyways, here are some examples of replies to my tics in the workplace:

*Me repeatedly flicking my hair -

Customer #1: “Is your hair annoying you?”

Customer #2: “Think it’s time for a hair-cut!”

Customer #3: “Go on, do it again!”

Customer #4: “Got nits, lad?” (Head lice)

*Me repeatedly widening my eyes -

Customer A: “What are you staring at?”

Customer B: “Been a long day, mate? You can barely keep your eyes open!”

Customer C: “What the f*ck are you glaring at, Matt Smith?” (Oh, yes, because I look like a twelve-hundred-year-old, Time-Lord from Gallifray…)


*Me constantly ticking in my neck -

Customer #5: “Want me to get that itch on your neck?” (Personal favourite)

Customer #6: "Are you having a stroke?"

*Me humming uncontrollably -

Customer D: “Wait, are you about to throw up?”

Customer E: “I’m sorry, I thought you were laughing at me?”

As you can probably read, I bite my tongue a lot at work! Haha! Honestly, if I had £1 for every time someone has made a comment just like as shown above, I’d be able to pay outright for my £9,000 a year education.

I’ve also had a co-worker introduce me to a new trainee as “The dude with Tourette’s” and then to be followed up with “Just watch his face move, it’s hilarious!” - No, Douchebag, it’s not. It’s an incurable condition that I am forced to live with for the rest of my life. It’s not “funny”. You should’ve seen his face when I suppressed my tics and pretended like he was lying. Oops, hahah!

Being labelled like that is always hurtful because they can’t see the behind the scenes of Tourette’s and how it can cause such atrocious and horrific pain, such as migraines and spinal injuries. I can’t begin to imagine how much worse it can be for the brave people who suffer with paralysis and self-h*arm from their tics. I respect every, single one of you. Thank you for being awesome.

Also, mad respect for those who work with Tourette’s and battle anxiety every day. You’re stronger than you know and you definitely deserve a medal! 🏅

Always take the time to ask about someone's condition and allow them to educate you on how they feel and how they manage their conditions to brave the world and feel significant.

Thank you for reading! Make sure to post your experiences of working with tics in the comments. I’d love to hear them!

Until next time, stay strong and stay awesome.


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