Wigan mum's upset as she was refused a ramp to get daughter's specialist buggy on train
A mum-of-three says she was humiliated when a railway station employee refused to get a ramp for her daughter's specialist buggy.
Kayley Parkinson claims she was told her three-year-old daughter Evana was using a buggy - not a wheelchair - so she could not use the ramp.
They were travelling home to Wigan with Kayley’s husband Scott and their eldest daughter Erica, five, after a trip to Peppa Pig World in Southampton on Tuesday.
Evana, who was a special guest at Wigan’s Christmas lights switch-on, has a rare chromosome disorder which causes pain in her legs and was given the buggy by charity Blessings In Disguise.
The train tickets had been provided by charity Family Fund.
Their journey went smoothly, until the train was cancelled at Salford Crescent.
There was no ramp to get the buggy off but Mrs Parkinson managed to alight herself.
She asked a member of staff for a ramp to get on the next train, but was shocked by his response.
She said: “He kind of stood there, turned around, looked at the buggy and said it was not a wheelchair. I said it was and he said it was a pram.”
Mrs Parkinson, from Spring View, says he told her to “shut up” during the conversation and even asked other travellers whether it was a buggy or a wheelchair.
She says people were staring at them and she was worried about Evana.
Mrs Parkinson, 25, said: “It was humiliating more than anything. Luckily she doesn’t know, but she could have done. He didn’t know that she didn’t understand that.
“As parents we have fought for inclusion and awareness for over 18 months, since we found out about her genetic condition, and it’s like a slap in the face.”
Eventually another worker helped Mrs Parkinson lift the buggy onto the train.
She said staff at other stations had been helpful and the specialist buggy even has a sign saying it should be treated like a wheelchair.
Mrs Parkinson, who also has a one-year-old son named Ellery, said: “I want more awareness. I don’t want anyone to have that experience again, it was horrible.”
A spokesman for Northern said: “We are sorry for the upset or distress our customer experienced following the incident at Salford Crescent.
“We are currently investigating what happened and will speak to the customer again as soon as possible as part of this process.”
The spokesman added: “Manual and powered wheelchairs can be taken on all of our trains, and station and train staff will be happy to help customers on and off our services.
“We also participate in the industry-wide Passenger Assist programme and encourage customers who may require assistance when travelling on our services to contact us before they travel on 0800 138 5560 to see how we can help.”