Pregnant woman asked to pay £40 as clean-up charge by cabbie after her water broke in the vehicle
The woman had to wait in the taxi while having painful contractions as her 12-year-old son ran to a nearby ATM to withdraw the money
A 43-year-old pregnant mother-of-four was rudely asked to pay £40 as a clean-up charge by a cabbie because her water broke while she was in the back seat of his vehicle.
Cherise Gwilt was going to Hanley in Stroke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, on May 10 to do some shopping. She boarded a cab along with her two children and headed off on what was supposed to be a fun trip until her water suddenly broke.
The family had planned to go shopping at the Poundstretcher on Town Road and the taxi had stopped close to that.
Gwilt's water broke just as she was trying to get out of the vehicle. The cab driver who thought the water was actually urine demanded £40 as a clean-up charge. Gwilt then had to wait in the taxi while her 12-year-old son ran to a nearby ATM and withdrew the £40 that the taxi driver had demanded.
Instead of a fun day of shopping, however, Gwilt was rushed to the Royal Stoke University Hospital by an ambulance that had been called to where the taxi stopped. Less than three hours later, baby Dottie Mai was born.
The taxi firm, Lucky Seven, heard about what happened and promised to reimburse the amount to Gwilt and blamed the whole traumatic experience she and her children had on "miscommunication".
Gwilt, who is from Staffordshire, said that the birth of her fifth child is now a very "touchy" subject. She also claimed that she gave a £10 note to the driver for the £4.60 fare.
She told the Daily Mail, "When the taxi pulled up outside Poundstretcher, my waters broke as I was getting out of the car. The driver told me I would have to pay more but I was having contractions and my children were panicking."
"I sent my son to the cash machine and the taxi driver took the money. My partner arrived just before the ambulance. It was absolutely horrendous."
"When you are having a baby, you have this idea of what it will be like. People look back on the birth of their children and it is nice. But this is a touchy subject because of what happened just hours earlier."
Her partner, 39-year-old Martin Hyson, was supposed to meet his family at the Poundstretcher and arrived to find Gwilt in a terrible situation.
He told the Daily Mail, "When I got there, Cherise was in tears, standing in the middle of Hanley. The taxi driver said the charge was company policy but I told him there was a time and a place. What happened to Cherise was disgusting."
"Cherise had to have a caesarean section. And less than three hours later, she delivered the baby."
The taxi company, Lucky Seven, said that the rude incident was a "genuine mistake".
Zahir Ahmad, the manager of the company, said, "I have spoken to the driver. He thought the passenger had soiled the vehicle and he thought it was urine. We do have a soiling charge because, if that happens, the driver then cannot work."
"We do not charge customers if their waters break. It was a misunderstanding. We don't usually get many emergencies and the driver thought it was urine."
"We are happy to reimburse our customers if a driver has charged them incorrectly and this was a genuine mistake," the manager said.