If you've ever struggled to negotiate public transport whilst pushing a pram or buggy, it might surprise you to hear one mum's account of being refused help when she asked a London Underground staff worker for assistance.
The Mail reports:
A mother has slammed 'disgraceful' London Underground staff after claiming she was refused assistance taking her child's pushchair down a steep flight of stairs.
Tatiana Novaes Coelho, from Clerkenwell, said the Transport For London worker at the Barbican station told her 'I'm not paid for this' when she asked for help around lunch time on February 16.
The paper reports that the staff member explained his unwillingness to help by saying "I am not a hauler" but that another commuter intervened to offer assistance to the buggy-pushing mother.
As an ex-Londoner, this story really surprised me. I used public transport, including London Underground, for several years and I never encountered anything but helpful, polite staff members.
I wish I could say the same for bus drivers, though. The memory of being left in the pouring rain by an impatient bus driver lost patience with me struggling to collapse a double buggy whilst a stranger held my newborn baby and I attempted to prevent my toddler from diving in front of a taxi is etched on my brain. That was definitely a defining moment in our decision to move out of London to raise our family somewhere altogether more hospitable to kids.
I'm torn as to what to think about this, though. I don't think I'd use public transport with a pushchair if I didn't feel capable of lifting it up and down stairs myself. I've done so numerous times, even when heavily pregnant, and despite always receiving offers of help from other passengers, I've never really felt as though I needed anyone to help me lug my pushchair up or down stairs.
While I don't think the transport worker's attitude was right, there's no denying that helping carry pushchairs around to help make life easier for passengers probably isn't in his job description.
What's your view on this story? Do you think the London Underground staff member was right to refuse to help this mother? Is it reasonable for a mum to expect assistance with a pushchair, or not?
If you've had a really good - or bad - experience of using public transport with a pushchair we'd love to hear about it. What's the most helpful thing anyone's ever done when you've been struggling with a pushchair on public transport? And what's the least helpful thing anyone's said or done under the same circumstances?
Come and share your views over on our Facebook page. Or take our poll on whether the tube worker was right to refuse to help.