Fifty shades of shame


I had an alarming message from a Twitter friend who explained her desperation and humiliation whilst aboard a cruise ship at the beginning of what was meant to be a lovely holiday.

It did not begin well when the airline lost not only the couples luggage but also her Delta Walker for mobility.

This person was eventually given a wheelchair to use but guess what it was too wide to fit into the cabin, and through the doors of the ship. She had to practically crawl on and off the bus and up steps of a small aircraft in full view of all her fellow passengers, everyone watching her struggle.

This as you can imagine was terribly humiliating. Having been made to feel embarrassed and the word she used to me was ‘suicidal’. All of this on her holiday!

Prior to booking this dream and long awaited cruise, she had spent an extremely long time on the phone, discussing with the travel company all mobility difficulties, to have total reassurance they could meet them. Feeling totally confident then proceeded with the booking. Now in this horrid situation no one wished to help. On seeking help by someone in charge, initially she and the situation were simply dismissed. Her option was to wait and attempt to resolve the situation once back in the UK. This is unbelievable. What is it with large companies?!

Talking of large companies and poor service, I have been trying to resolve a problem with Vodafone for my mother. Vodafone continued charging her for something she doesn’t have. We have recently learned this is a totally separate number, therefore charging her for a phone number she doesn’t own. This has been going on since March, they sent this increasing bill to a debt company. I’ve informed Vodafone this was causing my mother immense stress. She has never owed anything in her life. I also told them she was in hospital for a small operation and due to this and so she needed the phone to contact her family. Stressing even more that the continuing issue needed resolving.

I asked if they could please sort it as soon as possible. I was told that they didn’t wish to talk to me, and that all of the managers were far too busy to come to the phone. As a result they had given permission for the lady on the phone to end the call. I asked if Vodafone therefore didn’t care about customers’ welfare and the phone went dead. Eventually one kind employee of Vodafone helped me. She had also experienced the same behaviour of a manager hanging up on her. I cannot thank her enough, unlike Vodafone as a company. Just like this holiday situation, they do not care about the welfare of their customers, and that they are not providing a service. I thought I was no longer shockable but quite frankly these companies as I see it are behaving in a disgusting and unforgivable manner.

The one doesn’t care about causing stress, the other about humiliating their passengers.

It is clear to me that these people have not for a moment given a thought of how much it takes for someone with disabilities to muster up the courage to go on a holiday in the first place. Secondly, how exhausting travel is for us and how daunting normal everyday tasks are. We attempt holidays because our families have had to cope with a great deal, taking over our care and the worry that goes with it. They need a holiday more than ever! Getting to this stage may have entailed many sleepless nights for some. None of this is considered by the travel companies. Instead they chose to rudely ignore these travellers for fear of work, and not resolving the issue. Is this not discrimination at it’s worse? #50shadesofshame

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