When a woman unexpectedly gave birth in the back of a taxi, she probably wasn’t thinking about cleaning up.
Karolina Dabrowska, 36, delivered her son Sebastian prematurely in the backseat of an Addison Lee, which had parked outside Aldwych One hotel near Covent Garden.
But then, while in the ambulance, the driver banged on the doors and demanded the father Matthew Errington, 43, either clean up himself of hand over extra money.
‘The actions of the taxi driver at the most stressful moment of my life was appalling,’ he said.
After Karolina went into labour, the couple called a cab to take them from their home in Peckham to University College Hospital.
However, when her waters broke on the drive across London they had to pull over in Aldwych and deliver the baby there.
Sebastian was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, and a hotel guest – who happened to be a doctor – helped save his life.
‘At that point the taxi driver starts asking me for money,’ Matthew added. ‘I said, ‘my son’s not breathing, leave me alone’. The doctor came out and saved my son’s life.’
The cab company’s ‘fouling charge’ can be up to £100.
Andy Bolan, Addison Lee’s chief executive, wrote to the new parents to apologise and offer them a full refund – but they say they will never use Addison Lee again.
A spokesman said: ‘We would like to wholeheartedly apologise again for the service that Matthew and Karolina experienced, at what was a stressful time for them.
‘As soon as we investigated what had happened we refunded their fares for both jounreys to and from hospital, discussed with the driver how he could have been more sensitive to Matthew and Karolina’s needs at a difficult time and are issuing guidance to all our drivers to ensure this unfortunate situation can never happen again.
‘As a gesture of goodwill we have also made a donation to the premature and sick babies charity, Bliss.’