The night my mum crashed her mobility scooter

The night my mum crashed her mobility scooter

by Keir Nathan Thomas


Before getting her mobility scooter my mum’s driving experience was limited. In fact, it was just five minutes at the wheel of our Morris 1000 on Blackpool’s golden mile. I still don’t know how my dad got the car down there but with him at her side and my mum’s provisional license in her handbag she drove the car in ever decreasing circles. My sister and me in the back were thrown against the window via centrifugal force. We looked like those cling-on Garfield dolls.

We loved it. Mum didn’t.

A few years ago when my dad got too old for his car they decided mobility scooters were the way forward: One for dad and one for mum. Dad drives in front. Mum follows, like an elephant tugging on his tail. They’re notorious in the village. Not because of their driving. They visit the local pub each day for mid-morning coffee and people set their watches by the pulling up of the scooters in the disabled space. The pub’s poodle waits by the door for them. Behind the bar is a tabloid newspaper cutting showing elderly royals at Ascot getting around on mobility scooters. Because my dad’s taken to wearing cravats (don’t ask), somebody scribbled my parents’ names on it.

We blame my mum’s accident on the hi-fi my dad got for Christmas. This shows the time but has no knowledge of the clocks going back an hour. My dad was getting duff info about when to go and fetch my mum from bingo. The clocks changing has always confused my parents. When I was young they put the clocks back when they should’ve gone forward. We turned-up to church on a Sunday morning two hours early, wondering why we hadn’t seen a single other human on the way over there.

After waiting 15 minutes in the cold, with her bingo winnings in her purse (she’s lucky like that), mum realised dad wasn’t going to turn-up. She set off alone, going solo for the first time in her life. What’s the worst that can happen?

She got as far as their street but stopped when she noticed some rugs outside the door. My dad had taken them out for cleaning. Nothing strange, she realised, and set off again. Unfortunately, she grabbed the wrong handlebar lever. The buggy flew backwards. She didn’t have time to notice the house getting smaller rather than larger because she mounted a kerb, drove on two wheels for a while, then mum + buggy fell onto their side.

More shocked than hurt, she called for my dad. And here that hi-fi makes its second appearance. It was playing my dad’s favourite music (sci-fi TV themes – don’t ask). He couldn’t hear. Everybody else in the street could. Pretty soon everybody else in the village could. One of the neighbours rapped on my dad’s door and said, “Your mate’s fallen over!” Mum was lifted to her feet, taken inside, I was called, and the three of us spent the night at A&E. Mum was found to have bruised ribs and thumb but had come out of it otherwise OK. Bravely, she forced herself to get back on the scooter the very next day to avoid any fear building-up. The mobility scooter makes it possible for her to have a life outside the house. She knows how important it is.

And aside from a small scuff, the mobility scooter was fine. They’re made of solid stuff nowadays.