Congratulations to new mum Farah Cacanindin, who gave birth to a baby girl in the back of a taxi on the way to hospital!
But the story has sparked a debate on who should foot the bill for cleaning the private hire vehicle after the 26-year-old safely delivered her daughter, Naia, in an Arrow Taxis vehicle in High Wycombe.
The drama happened last month as Ms Cacanindin returned from a routine hospital appointment and suddenly went into labour on her way home. The story went viral and was picked up by a variety of media outlets globally as well as the British press, including The Sun, the Daily Mail and the local Bucks Free Press.
Ms Cacanindin said the driver asked her if she wanted him to stop, but she told him to head for the hospital where she expected to give birth. The driver called ahead to alert staff and during the 40mph journey, Ms Cacanindin delivered the baby herself.
Mother and daughter are both doing well, although Ms Cacanindin said she was shocked to receive a bill for £90 from the taxi firm – £30 for the fare and £60 for cleaning up the vehicle afterwards.
She said: “I understand that I did make a mess but it’s a bit cheeky to have charged me. It was the quickest labour ever. My waters broke five minutes into the journey.
“The driver asked if I wanted him to pull over, but I said to keep going as I believed I would make it before she was born.”
The story was picked up around the world, with some seeming to back Ms Cacanindin’s claim that the taxi firm had done something wrong.
But the facts are that she ordered the taxi, fully expecting to pay for the 13-mile trip. While going into labour was an unexpected twist, the taxi driver did all he could to help, asking whether she wanted to stop and then called the hospital to let staff know they were on the way, with neither expecting her to give birth so soon.
Her waters broke in the taxi and Ms Cacanindin delivered Naia herself, wrapping the newborn in her coat. The driver then safely delivered his passengers to maternity staff at Stoke Mandeville Hospital for proper care.
Obviously the drama left the taxi in a mess and the Vauxhall Vivaro had to be thoroughly cleaned before it was allowed back on the road again.
Commenting on the Bucks Free Press story, JustBrowsing said: “Glad that the baby was delivered and ok, but it’s a taxi, not an ambulance, not sure why it comes as such a surprise that they’ve asked her to cover the costs.”
While some Daily Mail readers took Ms Cacanindin’s side, many agreed she should have to pay.
Tiny said: “I would have happily paid and also given a tip, especially if the driver was helpful.”
Pit Bull replied: “I don’t understand why she thinks that’s terrible. I know she had no control over it, but the taxi driver shouldn’t be out of pocket.”
Puddytatpurr added: “So you expect them to lose out on a cleaning bill? It has to be done professionally due to bodily fluids, the car is also not usable until the cleaning is done. That means they’re missing out on more money. You are literally taking food out of the mouths of the driver and his family! If you’d given birth on your own carpet; you’d expect to pay to have it cleaned, wouldn’t you?”
And Pullda udderone said: “If it happened to me, I wouldn’t have thought twice and paid over the clean-up bill and apologised and said a big thank you.”
We agree that the taxi driver/firm shouldn’t be left to foot the bill. If someone had borrowed a coat and fallen over in the mud, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect them to clean it before returning it.
This story is another case of a taxi driver coming to the rescue and we’re glad it had a happy ending, despite the unwarranted criticism.