The phrase “take advantage” is a bit strange. It can be quite innocuous with regards to using something. For example, there is nothing too bad about saying, “I’m going to take advantage of the restroom at this gas station before we get back out on the road.” However, the phrase has a very different meaning when applied to a person. For instance, “I’m going to take advantage of his disability.”
That is exactly what happened to Gary Bellamy, a nearly mute young man with cystic fibrosis. A 17-year-old neighborhood bully punched Gary and stole his scooter.
Gary’s severe cystic fibrosis has left him with difficulties communicating. His mother, Sharon, is his full-time caregiver and is able to understand him. However, she recognizes that many people cannot. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that affects the digestive and respiratory systems. Gary’s communication issues have made him an object of ridicule and harassment in his Birmingham, England neighborhood.
The assault and theft of Gary’s scooter occurred on March 13, 2017. Gary gave evidence personally against his attacker because he recognized the face of the assailant. The teen had been wearing a motorcycle helmet without a visor. Gary’s attacker was sentenced to six months in juvenile detention and ordered to pay a fine for the assault.
Gary’s misfortunes with the moped did not stop there. It was stolen and damaged while he was in a shop this past June. There is no evidence to link this incident to the previous assault. The abuse and humiliation have taken their toll on Gary, who now refuses to ride his newly repaired scooter and rarely leaves the house, in general.