Sandra Kirkham had an epileptic seizure at a Mencap charity shop on Monday
A shopper was charged by a charity shop after knocking over glassware in the store while she was having an epileptic seizure.
Sandra Kirkham, 72, knocked over a bowl that shattered and cut her foot as she writhed on the shop floor during the fit on Monday.
A worker at the Mencap store in Congleton, Cheshire, then ordered her to reimburse the store for the breakage as she came round.
While Mrs Kirkham’s husband Kevan, 56, paid for a pair of sandals she had been trying on, the worker took £17 to compensate for the damage.
Mencap have now apologised to Mrs Kirkham, from nearby Sandbach, and have offered to pay her the money back.
She said: ‘I was so angry at Mencap, who should prepare their staff for this… it’s a charity who should definitely be aware of illnesses like this.
‘All I can remember as I regained consciousness is the shop worker repeatedly asking ”You’ve got to pay for the goods. I’ve got to charge you for the goods”.
‘When you come out of a fit, it takes a long time to work out what is happening and initially the voice sounded so far away. I was so confused as I didn’t know what had broken and why there was blood everywhere.’
The elderly woman fell into a display, causing a glass bowl to break at the Congleton, Cheshire shop (pictured). The 72-year-old cut her foot on the glass and a worker forced her to pay £17 for the broken bowl
She continued: ‘I was eventually taken away in an ambulance and it was only then that I was really able to make sense of what had happened.
‘My husband said they didn’t show any sympathy or offer any kind of apology.’
Mrs Kirkham has suffered from epilepsy since she was a child but hadn’t suffered a seizure for months.
She added: ‘I was out shopping with my husband when we thought we’d pop into the Mencap shop as I’d never been before. I saw a pair of sandals which I began trying on.
‘As I started to take them off, I fell to the floor and everything went black.
‘Apparently I then knocked a stand that wasn’t secured and a glass bowl fell off and smashed on the floor.
‘Glass was all around me and I cut my foot so there was a fair bit of blood too.
‘When I came to, my husband got me a chair while he went to pay for the sandals.
‘He only had a £20 note and the worker said that he would just keep the £17 change to pay for their loss.’
She said: ‘When you come out of a fit, it takes a long time to work out what is happening and initially the voice sounded so far away. I was so confused as I didn’t know what had broken and why there was blood everywhere’
Mrs Kirkham said: ‘The shop did call me an ambulance and I was taken to hospital to be treated for the cuts. I am fine now but just annoyed with how I was treated.’
Glen Hall, Head of Retail at the learning disability charity Mencap, said: ‘We are mortified this happened and for adding to an already very difficult situation.
‘After calling an ambulance the member of staff should absolutely not have asked for damages to be paid. This is not our policy and unfortunately a new member of staff who was temporarily in the shop on their own was unsure how to react and made the wrong decision.
‘We tried very hard to get in touch with Sandra as soon as we were made aware of this and on Tuesday managed to speak to her to offer our sincere apologies, to fully reimburse her and invite back to choose any item of her choice from the shop [for] further apology.
‘This should not have happened, it was an honest mistake for a new employee who deeply regrets the incident, and we can assure people this will never happen again in any of Mencap’s stores.
‘Our staff are conscious that every penny raised is important in helping the charity improve the lives of people with a learning disability, but this was clearly taken unacceptably too far on this occasion.’