09:00AM, Thursday 20 October 2016
A pregnant mum has branded a rail company 'cold-hearted' after she claimed a ticket inspector asked her for proof she was expecting.
Claire Hillard, who is seven months pregnant, took a seat in first class on Monday after rail delays at Maidenhead Station caused a crowd of people to rush for the train.
She said for the safety of her unborn child she decided to sit in first class to guarantee a seat for her commute into London.
The 36-year-old said when the Great Western Railway ticket inspector arrived she told him she was happy to pay the difference for the seat, but was shocked when he asked her for proof she was pregnant.
She said: "The train I usually get was delayed and it moved platforms from two to four, this created a stampede of people crossing to the platform and an overcrowded train so I headed to first class.
“When asked for my ticket I told him I was seven months pregnant but happy to pay the difference.
“He then asked me if I had a cover note from my doctor to prove I was pregnant. I thought he was joking at first.
“He told me it was unfair I was sat there and he made me feel like a piece of dirt on his shoe.”
Claire, who lives in Cookham with her husband James and son Max, paid the inspector to upgrade her ticket but said she was made to feel like a bad person.
She said: “It was an extreme situation and inspectors should be able to use their own judgment.
"I feel for the pregnant women who don’t have the confidence to look after themselves and break the rules.
"I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many people that walk around with cushions stuffed up their t-shirts.
"He represents cold-hearted people that sadly exist, a cold-hearted company that sadly exists and clearly feels the need to stick up for first class passengers over a pregnant woman."
Great Western Railway did not comment on the incident directly, but a spokesman said: "We we offer a Mums2B pass allowing a free upgrade to first class for standard season ticket holders if there are no seats available in standard.
"Passengers wishing to upgrade from standard to first are welcome to do so."
On the Great Western Railway passenger charter it states that in order to get this pass, a maternity certificate or family health services authority exemption certificate must be sent off, which can be obtained from a midwife of GP.
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