By BEGENA P PRADEEP www.gulf-daily-news.com
The plans of four Bahrain women to run a marathon in Dubai have been dashed after a taxi driver allegedly stole their luggage, it emerged yesterday.
The women are demanding a compensation of 60,000 dirhams (BD6,000) from the Dubai Taxi Company and have filed a case with the emirate’s police.
Aisling Harrington-Tolfrey from Ireland, Scot Arlene McCabe, Briton Lucy Harrison-Mirfield and Canadian Shauna Nearing Loj set out to Dubai last Thursday to take part in the RAK Half Marathon in Ras Al Khaimah.
The housewives say they have been training since September for the event, running four times a week for seven to 10km and once a week for 16km to 18km.
“One of us called Dubai Taxi before leaving Bahrain and was told that a taxi could be hired for the day and we could leave our bags while we were touring around the emirate,” Ms Harrington-Tolfrey told the GDN.
“When we arrived at their taxi stand at the airport, we booked a taxi for 12 hours for 500 dirhams (BD50).
“Before going into Dubai Mall, we exchanged mobile numbers with the driver and agreed to give him 20 minutes notice before we returned.
“Upon our return, the driver put our shopping bags in the trunk of the taxi, that is when we noticed our bags were gone,” she said.
“When we asked where our bags were, the driver was completely stoic in his response, like he did not even notice that five rather imposing pieces of luggage were missing.
“We asked him to call Dubai Taxi and he stood stunned. We asked him to phone police and again there was no reaction,” Ms Harrington-Tolfrey said.
“We then took his mobile phone to call police and then the Dubai Mall security came to the scene,” she said.
“Police came to the mall and we spent the next six hours at the police station in Bur Dubai.
“They took our statements and costs of the lost goods, which totalled 60,000 dirhams.”
The 36-year-old described the experience as a nightmare and to add insult to injury, the taxi company turned a cold shoulder on their ordeal.
“We were quite upset – it was like a nightmare.
“We were devastated that perhaps we would not be able to run our marathon as all our running gear were in the bags.
“Our dreams were dashed. We left Dubai with heavy hearts knowing that our dream weekend and hard training were not meant to be.
“We had no hotel that night and instead of trusting another taxi driver, we asked police to take us to our next destination upon leaving the police station.
“While at the police station, several attempts were made to phone Dubai Taxi for their help or at the very least to send a representative to the police station to help us sort through this ordeal – but no-one came.”
Ms Harrington-Tolfrey said that they had been calling Dubai Taxi since last Thursday with no response except a reply to an e-mail that came yesterday.
“We didn’t think it was too much to trust a government-run taxi company, but a contract was broken.
“We are members of the Bahrain Road Runners and were planning to retire after that race because of all the vigorous training involved.
“We trained so hard for months for this event. We ran four times a week for seven to 10km and once a week for 16 to 18km,” she added.
Meanwhile, in the email reply to the four women, Dubai Taxi apologised for their ordeal and promised to follow up the case.
“We will try to make the trust come again. We hope to see you soon in Dubai,” it said.
No-one from the company was available for a response yesterday.