'So what, you can still drive' - Shell garage orders Hemel woman giving birth to move car
Giving birth is a stressful time but when expectant mum Natalie went into labour on a garage forecourt, she didn't expect staff to be so heartless.
The heavily pregnant 21-year-old was on her way to hospital with her mother Janette and partner Ben in another car when she realised she'd gotten to the point of no return and had to pull into a garage forecourt.
But staff and customers were so rude - causing added stress to the situation - that Natalie Rowe and Ben Cass have taken the decision of boycotting the Shell garage in Breakspear Way.
"I was shocked people could show no sympathy or compassion at all for the whole situation because we were all in such a panic," said the new mum. "At no point were we offered any help in what was quite a scary time."
As the frantic trio pulled in, a lorry driver even came up behind them and started sounding his horn.
Worse still, staff showed no compassion, shouting over the loudspeaker that they "didn't care" she was in labour and they just wanted the cars moved.
Amazingly, despite the commotion, Natalie's mum was able to deliver baby girl Halle - with the help of paramedics.
"My mum cut the cord and then we got her in the ambulance for the hospital," said the proud mum.
Shockingly, when Janette called the Shell garage to formally complain, they were STILL unrepentant, saying "we have reviewed CCTV and you were blocking the entrance".
Natalie said: "Now I don’t know about anyone else but would that not be considered as a medical emergency?
"They didn't care at all, I just thought how can people be so rude in such a situation like this."
And now, the couple - from Maylands - have taken the drastic decision of boycotting the Shell garage - and are urging other customers to do the same.
"I will now be boycotting the shell garage down at Breakspear Way, and after this I hope a lot of you will join me in doing so."
When the Gazette contacted Shell, they apologised for the incident.
A spokesman said: “We were very sad to hear of this customer’s experience, as this incident is completely not in line with the high-quality customer service and care our retailers strive to deliver.
"We have sincerely apologised to the customer and her family on behalf of the retailer, and are working with all parties involved to ensure such a situation does not occur again in the future.”
Mother and baby - who weighed 6lb 7oz - are both doing well.
"The baby is brilliant, she made a little noise when she came out, she didn't whinge or cry, just a yelp," Natalie added.