A breastfeeding mum and her family visiting London from Ontario, Canada didn’t get the warm British welcome they expected and will return home with a very bad impression of U.K. traffic wardens.
Maria Marques, her husband Jeffery, 5-year-old son Vincenzo and 13-month-old daughter Natalia, were ready to head into Victoria Park to see the Holy Roller Sherman tank, and have a picnic, when Natalia decided she didn’t want to wait another minute to be fed.
So, still in the van outside the park, Maria started to feed her hungry baby and was astonished to be issued with a parking fine, reports Ifpress.com.
She said she planned to buy a ticket from the Clarence Street meter but her priority was feeding Natalia.
“We had every intention of paying,” she said. “But my daughter was hungry, I wanted to console her.”
“My car was still running because we still wanted the air conditioning while I fed her,” she added.
After nursing for a few minutes, Maria and her husband spotted traffic wardens issuing tickets to cars parked nearby but, as they still had their engine running and were planning to pay for a ticket in a few minutes, they weren’t too concerned.
When the traffic wardens approached the family’s car, motioned to the meter and asked if they’d paid, Jeffery jumped out of the van. “I said, ‘My wife is breastfeeding right now and then we’re going to the park,'” he recalled. “He could’ve just waited to make sure we got out and paid.”
But the warden announced that he was giving them a parking fine and proceeded to prepare it.
The family drove straight to the court and disputed the fine. But a couple of days later they received a call saying the fine would stand, since it was reported that they had said they weren’t going to feed the meter.
Councillor Josh Morgan, who chairs the city council’s protective services committee, encouraged the family to file a complaint, saying that “it seems really odd for someone to be ticketed while they’re in their vehicle.”
“If they had a bad experience, I encourage them to submit a complaint,” he added. “We do want to give the impression London is a nice place.”
“I was appalled,” said Maria, who was in London for a specialist’s appointment at University Hospital.
We are, too.