An actor who suffers from brittle bone disease and has to use a wheelchair has spoken of her recent poor experience on a Virgin Trains service.
Samantha Renke, who has recently appeared in several TV adverts for Maltesers, spoke at length to the Guardian about her journey. Renke told the newspaper how she struggled to find a suitable seat on the train, despite having made a disabled reservation in advance, due to both disabled areas she attempted to access being blocked by passengers’ luggage.
The actor, who was travelling from Preston to London in December, was left fuming at the lack of interest and care shown by the staff she approached on the service in her attempts to have the situation resolved. “There was no consensus at all between the staff what should be done, whether people should have to move their bags or not”, she explained, “It was me who had to step in and point to the sign that says there has to be disabled access in that area by law.”
Whilst some people with reduced mobility are able to benefit from the use of helpful devices such as new or used Motability scooters, it is still the case for all those who are unable to walk unassisted that life can be difficult on a daily basis, which Renke reminded readers when she spoke to the Guardian: “It’s appalling, but to me it is all too familiar, it’s just our lives. People don’t think about what those with impairments have to go through.”
Renke contacted Virgin Trains via Twitter to alert them of her poor experience, but did not find their response helpful or even apologetic. Since the Guardian spoke to the actor, however, the company has attempted to smooth things over with the following statement: ‘We’re extremely disappointed to hear of Samantha’s experience. We want everyone to have an enjoyable experience on our trains and will look into this specific incident to understand exactly what happened’.
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