Dying mum, 45, ‘told to prove she has leukaemia’ at Costa Coffee after asking to use toilet as she felt unwell

4 mins read

A DYING mum was allegedly told to prove she had leukaemia after asking to use the toilet in a Costa Coffee.

Nicky Hughes, who is currently receiving palliative care after being diagnosed with leukaemia five years ago, rushed into the coffee shop in Nottingham when she began to feel unwell on Tuesday.

BPM Media

Nicky Hughes claims Costa Coffee staff told her she had to prove her leukaemia in order to use their toilet facilities[/caption]

BPM Media

The mum-of-one rushed into one of the chain’s coffee shops when she began to feel unwell[/caption]

Alamy Live News

Costa Coffee has ‘sincerely apologised for any distress caused’[/caption]

But the mum-of-one claims staff told her she needed to either buy a drink or prove her illness in order to use the loos, Nottinghamshire Live reports.

Nicky, who was was an oncology nurse practitioner before her leukaemia turned terminal, said: “I suddenly felt I was going to be sick and the nearest toilets were in the Costa, which I practically had to run to.

“I explained the full situation to a staff member because I am used to it now, and I’m always polite about it. But I was told I would need to purchase a drink or have some proof.


“I spoke to another staff member who said the same. I usually have a Government shielding letter and my dongle showing I have an invisible illness, but I had left them in the car.

“I was rushing around in my handbag and couldn’t find them so I just had to leave.

“I came out in such a state and just burst into tears. It was awful.”

After leaving the shop, the 45-year-old said she found a cleaner in the shopping centre who took her upstairs to use the loos.

I just think there needs to be discretion used, some retraining or discussion – why would anyone make something like this up?

Nicky Hughes

She said her partner later returned to the Costa to give staff a letter of complaint – but they apparently denied knowledge of her illness.

Nicky said: “I then rang the store up directly, and they quickly changed the story to ‘you only said as you were leaving’.

“I don’t want anything from them, an apology would have been enough, I just don’t want it happening to someone else.

“You shouldn’t have to prove an illness and I have never been asked before.

“I just think there needs to be discretion used, some retraining or discussion – why would anyone make something like this up?”

A Costa Coffee spokesperson said: “Costa Coffee believes in creating a warm and welcoming environment in our stores.

“Whilst all our toilets are currently closed, we do allow team members to use their discretion and make exceptions for certain customers.

“We sincerely apologise for any distress this incident caused Ms Hughes and have been in touch with her directly.”

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