Actress Ruth Madeley has told how a taxi driver took her wheelchair away after an argument outside a train station in London.
Bafta nominees, who starred in the BBC One drama Years and Years, said the man refused to drop her off at the accessible entrance of the Euston station because heavy traffic made it “too difficult” and it would “take too long” .
The 33-year-old, who has spina bifida, said the driver told her he had seen her get up and “knew I could walk” before demanding the fare, despite the trip being prepaid.
During the dispute, Madeley said, he took her wheelchair, put it in the trunk of his car and refused to give it back.
She wrote on Instagram: “When I tried to explain this on the street, he got very excited and in sheer frustration he took my wheelchair behind me without warning and carried it away to put the trunk in his taxi and leave me next to the road. When I asked for it back, he refused. ”
She added that she traveled with her mother, who was able to recover the seat from the driver, “although he tried his best to stop her”.
Transport to London described the incident as “completely appalling” and said it would investigate.
Graham Robinson, TfL’s Director General for Taxi and Private Rentals, said in a statement: “This sounds like a completely shocking incident. We have contacted Ruth for more details so that we can conduct a complete and urgent investigation. ”
Madeley said she had reported the incident to Metropolitan police, but was told it was not a “hate crime”. “I was shut down and made it feel like I was making a fuss over nothing,” she added.
The incident took place last month on the day it was announced that Madeley would star in BBC Two’s actual drama Independence Day? How Disabled Rights Won, co-written by Bafta-winning screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne.
Screenwriter Russell T Davies, creator of Years and Years, TV presenter Lucy Alexander and actress Anna Nightingale were among those sharing messages of support.