Mum and her four young children made to wait 12 hours at roadside until 1.30am after car breaks down
A woman, her partner and her four young children were made to wait for 12 hours at the side of the road for breakdown cover after a trip to Skegness went wrong. Katie Holmes, who is from Chesterfield, set off with her partner and children to the seaside on Friday morning, expecting a fun family day out. But things went awry when the family’s 2006 Renault Grand Scenic broke down at 1.30pm while they were driving through Horncastle as part of the 85-mile drive from Chesterfield to Skegness.
Amazingly, they had to wait until 1.30am for a taxi back to Chesterfield from breakdown cover provider RAC.
Katie, who is 34 and has children aged 14, 11, 9 and 4, told Lincolnshire Live that she was extremely frustrated by the situation which left her and her young children at the side of a road in the pitch black. She said: “We broke down at 1.30pm on the way to Skegness. “The RAC kept sending me messages every half an hour saying we’re busy but we’re trying to get to you.
“That went on all afternoon until about 7pm when an engineer came out and said he was arranging for a recovery truck. “After that we didn’t hear anything from 7pm to midnight.
Katie and the family had been expecting to enjoy a day out at Skegness beach but never made it to the coast (Image: Barry Robinson)
“The recovery truck eventually came at about midnight but said it couldn’t take us with them. “They said the RAC should have ordered a taxi but they hadn’t – and then the taxi didn’t come until 1.30am.
“The kids were scared to death. We were left vulnerable at the side of the road. It was pitch black.
“The kids were almost sleeping standing up waiting another hour and a half for a taxi.” Chesterfield is more than 60 miles away from Horncastle, a journey of around 100 minutes – so they did not get home until after 3am. Katie says she has since complained to the RAC – but said at the time of talking to Lincolnshire Live that they still hadn’t apologised.
“There has been no apology at all,” she said.
“I’ve written them an email about it and then I had a phone call from them saying they understand it’s not acceptable but they still didn’t apologise. “I pay GBP15.10 per month for RAC. “And the worst thing is, I had email to say it was going up this month to GBP20!
“I have cancelled the direct debit.” That wasn’t the end of it – the recovery team had been told that the broken down car needed to be taken to Bristol Street Motors in Sheffield – rather than being brought back to Katie. “They said it needed to be scrapped!” she said.
But after Lincolnshire Live contacted RAC, a spokesperson said the company has now issued an apology to Katie. The spokesperson said: “We have apologised to Katie for the unacceptable experience she had and have now resolved the matter to her satisfaction. “We have an excellent track record of being there for our customers when they need us most but on this occasion we didn’t live up to that, for which we are very sorry.”
Katie described the whole experience as “awful” but said that she was very grateful to the people of Horncastle for their help while they were stranded on Accommodation Road, where they broke down, in the town.
She said: “The people of Horncastle were so lovely, offering the toilet and supplies if we needed them.”
In a Facebook post, Katie added: “I was blown away by the kindness of the people of Horncastle.”
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