I was asked to leave a shopping centre for wearing a hood By Xavier Toby

Last week, I was asked to leave a shopping centre for wearing a hood.

Let me be more specific.

I was asked to leave the Canelands Shopping Centre in Mackay, Queensland, for wearing a penguin suit.

It’s a onesie and the hood was actually my beak, eyes and head.

So I’m a comedian, and for about an hour I'd been promoting this comedy and history walking tour I do, which also involves me using a megaphone to shout at strangers.

Then a woman from Lend Lease (centre management) told me, “You can’t wear hoods in the shopping centre.”

I replied, “Yes you can. Look at me, I’m doing it right now.”

“It’s against the rules. I can show you where it says so if you like?”

I didn’t know if this rule had been created to victimise people wearing hooded tops, certain religious groups, or both, and couldn’t think how to ask.

“No, I believe you,” I replied. “That a rule that stupid exists, but what about hats?”

“Hats are okay.”

“Well then, this is a hat.”

“No, it’s a hood,” she said.

“What about babies? In those little jumpsuits with hoods. Do you kick them out too?”

“Of course not.”

“So I’m a baby penguin,” I said.

She frowned. “No, you’re a grown man dressed a penguin. Which isn't funny, but is very sad.”

Just before I left the centre I used my megaphone to yell, “Penguins are people too!”

Then added, “Equal rights for all the penguins. Despite their race, religion or sexual orientation!”

in Mackay, Queensland, Australia


Writer and comedian. 'Mining My Own Business' his debut non-fiction comedy book is available now through: People he's not related to even say that it's worth reading. Promise.

See Xavier's profile.

Xavier's website.


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