Taxi driver leaves autistic girl by the side of the road

Devlin family

Lucy Devlin, an 11-year-old girl from Denton in Greater Manchester, suffers from autism, so is unable to handle unexpected changes in her routine. So it must have been particularly hard for her to deal with her situation when a taxi driver left her at the side of the road. He was supposed to be taking her to school, but told her that her fare had run out, and said she had to get out of the cab.

Lucy's parents usually take her to school themselves, but according to the Manchester Evening News, her father suffers from chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, which means sometimes he is unable to get out of bed. Her mother was working, and Lucy's autism means she is unable to deal with crowds on public transport, so they called a local taxi company.

They had used the firm before, and had negotiated a fixed fee of £4 for the journey, but a breakdown in communication meant that the driver in this instance was watching the clock. When the £4 ran out Lucy was told to get out.

The Daily Mirror reported that the cab firm was conducting an internal investigation, and said it had never had this kind of problem before.

Taxi trouble

Clearly many thousands of people with illnesses or conditions rely on taxi firms to get around, and the vast majority of them have no problems at all. However, when something goes wrong, it's particularly horrible for those who are left in the lurch.

It happened to a young mother and her sick child in April last year. The taxi abandoned them on a country road in the early hours of the morning, when the driver refused to drive through a deep puddle. The 32-year-old was left a mile from home with her one year old epileptic daughter at 1am.

In 2012 another autistic child was abandoned on the way to school. The 10-year-old from Kent had argued with the driver, so he dropped him back at home, and left him on the doorstep of the empty house. Neighbours found him wandering the streets.

And in 2010 it was the turn of a heart patient in Bracknell who took a taxi home from hospital, but was left at the side of the road, because the driver did not want to brave the deeper snow. He collapsed while trying to walk home and was spotted by friends who were on their way to check on him.

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