Good Samaritan comes to disabled man’s rescue over scooter holiday row

A GOOD Samaritan has come to aid of a disabled man after The Comet reported on his plight last week.

Retired policeman Paul Wilkins contacted the newsdesk after reading that Letchworth GC resident Phillip Porter was unable to take his mobility scooter on holiday because First Capital Connect’s (FCC) assisted travel service does not allow taxis to take them.

This was despite the scooter fitting into a taxi and Mr Porter, who has been disabled for 14 years, having a scooter card permitting the scooter to be conveyed on FCC trains.

Mr Wilkins, of Mansfield Road, Baldock, decided to take the matter into his own hands and, along with help from The Comet, arranged to pick up Mr Porter and his wife Linda from their Highover Road home on Saturday and drive them - scooter in tow - to their nearest accessible train station at Royston.

Despite a slight underestimation in the time it would take to get ready to set off, the married couple were transported to the station ready to catch the train to Great Yarmouth with “at least seven or eight minutes to spare, said Mr Wilkins.

He added: “When I see something like this which is a bit ridiculous you want to do something about it.

“Everybody thinks of themselves all the time but if I can help even a little why not.”

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Mr Wilkins has also offered to picked the Porters up on their return.

The good deed meant Mr Porter would not have to borrow a wheelchair which has battery life that lasts three times less than the scooter.

Speaking while on holiday, Mrs Porter said: “It’s absolutely brilliant. It’s very kind and we do appreciate it.

“It’s made a big difference - he can go out more and he can go out for longer without having to go back to the chalet.”

Another reader also got in touch to recommend a friend’s Hitchin taxi firm which is able to transport scooters.

The Comet contacted FCC to propose they could use the services of Call a Cab to allow disabled people to have their mobility scooters as part of the assisted travel service.

A spokesman for FCC reiterated its previous response and said: “We carry wheelchairs in taxis, but like other train operators unfortunately we are unable to accommodate scooters.

“The policy is in place at all FCC locations to simplify procedures for all customers seeking assisted travel.”

Call a Cab owner Paul Lazarus, who often transports disabled residents in the area, including Mr Porter, said: “They have got to consider that they’re going to have disabled people very much disgruntled regarding the service that First Capital Connect provide. It’s discrimination.”

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