A mother-of-four was ordered to pay a £40 clean-up charge by a cabbie – after her waters broke in the back of his taxi.
Cherise Gwilt, 43, was heavily pregnant when she caught the cab for a shopping trip to Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, with two of her children on Thursday, May 10.
But Ms Gwilt had to wait in the taxi as her 12-year-old son was sent out to withdraw £40 from a cash machine, after telling the driver that her waters had broken.
The taxi had stopped near the Poundstretcher on Town Road where the family was just about to go shopping.
But instead Ms Gwilt was taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital by ambulance – and gave birth to little Dottie Mai less than three hours later.
Now taxi firm Lucky Seven has pledged to reimburse Ms Gwilt after blaming the incident on a ‘miscommunication’.
Ms Gwilt, from Abbey Hulton, Staffordshire, said the birth has now become a ‘touchy’ subject.
She claimed she had already handed over a £10 note for the £4.60 fare.
Ms Gwilt said: ‘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. I had to wait for someone and my partner ended up arriving just before the ambulance.
‘It was absolutely horrendous and when you have 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.’
Partner Martin Hyson had always planned to meet Ms Gwilt in Hanley.
Mr Hyson, 39, said: ‘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 had the baby.’
Lucky Seven said the incident was a ‘genuine mistake’.
Manager Zahir Ahmad said: ‘I have spoken to the driver who 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 customers if a driver has charged them incorrectly and this was a genuine mistake.’