Pregnant mum-to-be left ’embarrassed and in agony’ when man refuses to give up train seat she had ticket for
A heavily-pregnant expectant mum was left ’embarrassed, angry and in agony’ as she was forced to stand when a businessman would not give up a train seat – despite her showing him her ticket.
Mhari-Claire Doolan, 29, said she was mortified to be barged out of the way in the ‘scrum’ to get aboard the train and was forced to get on last.
But the situation quickly got worse when the exhausted 34-week pregnant recruitment manager found a businessman in his late 30s or early 40s sat in the seat she had booked.
Mhari-Claire claims the man ‘laughed in her face’ when she showed her the ticket for the seat on the one hour and thirty minute train between Birmingham and Manchester.
Instead she was forced to stand for more than half an hour in agony until another seat became free.
Mhari-Claire, from Manchester, said: “I was already tired and in pain and to be honest I’m so heavily pregnant I should probably not be travelling by train, so I made sure I had a seat booked.
“I told him I had that seat booked and positioned myself so that he could see I was pregnant but he just ignored me. The electronic booking system had broken so I showed him my ticket. He looked at it and then just laughed in my face and turned away.
“I couldn’t believe it. I am the size of a small house at the moment so he couldn’t have failed to see I was pregnant, he just didn’t care at all. I’ve had people sat in my seat before like that and usually left it but on this occasion I really needed the seat as my back ached so much.
“Even worse, no one did anything to help or intervene and no one offered me their seat. People just averted their eyes and pretended they hadn’t seen it. I would have argued for my seat more but he was with a friend and if I didn’t want to end up having an argument with him and then having to sit with his friend.
“I was left standing for more than half an hour, which was almost unbearable but I didn’t want to ask for someone else’s seat and get laughed at again. My back ached, my feet ached and I felt sick. I was in a lot of pain but luckily a seat eventually came free.”
When a ticket inspector later came round, the man had got off but Mhari-Claire still pointed out to him what had happened and asked if she had been wrong to request the seat if the electronic reservation system was broken.
However the inspector explained that he had put paper ticket reservations on the tops of each seat so the man must have removed it.
Mhari-Claire said: “The whole thing has made me question the way I act around others. I always thought it was an unspoken rule that you give up your seat for pregnant ladies or you allow them to get on the train first. It’s just polite.
“But everyone just pushed me out of the way to get on the train and this man just laughed in my face when I said I had reserved the seat – maybe I have been being too nice. Maybe this is how people travel now? But my mum would be angry with me if she ever saw me treating people like that.
“My boyfriend Dan was very angry about it. He was fuming that this man could do this to me. He is the complete opposite person. Just this week he stopped the car to help an old lady who had fallen over so he just doesn’t understand how someone could be so thoughtless.”
A Cross Country spokesperson said: “We would expect our customers to be polite and courteous to their fellow passengers and are disappointed to learn of her experience during her journey with us. In such circumstances we would always encourage customers to contact the Train Manager, who would be happy to assist. If they are unable to offer a customer their original seat then they will do their best to find alternative seating on the train.
“Clearly Ms Doolan’s journey was not to the standard we would have expected and we would ask her to contact us so that we can discuss the circumstances, especially as she is entitled to compensation for our being unable to provide the seat she reserved.”