Reunited: cabbie and the mum who had her baby in his taxi
Taxi driver Frankie Ritchie has been properly introduced to the baby boy who took his first breaths in the back of his cab.
His customer was already in labour when she and her husband got into Frankie’s taxi at their Newtownards home last Saturday morning.
But she had no idea she wouldn’t even make it to hospital before bringing her new son into the world.
The couple dropped their two children off with their grandmother before heading off to the Royal Victoria Hospital, where maternity staff were expecting them.
Frankie said: “She was already making noises but I had to tell them I couldn’t break the speed limit in my taxi.
“We got as far as York Street when she told us the baby’s head was out.”
Frankie pulled over on the Westlink exit while husband Billy attended to his wife.
It was agreed they needed to carry on to the hospital.
On arrival maternity staff came straight to the cab, where the healthy baby Issac had already arrived.
Frankie said: “After she said he had been born we had a horrible minute where the wee one was quiet. But then he started to cry — I’ve never been so relieved to hear a baby squealing!”
Having been a taxi driver for over 20 years, the father-of-10 has experienced his fair share of colourful characters, but never witnessed anything like this before. Frankie told the Belfast Telegraph: “People keep asking me what it’s like to deliver a baby, but I didn’t do anything.
“That brave woman did all the work herself in the back of my cab.”
Frankie’s partner Heather said he was her “hero” for getting the family safely to the hospital. She said: “He always keeps a cool head in a crisis.
“Normally he’s very fussy about people making a mess of that taxi — but this time he didn’t care what happened to it as long as the mum and baby were OK.”