Fare play - hero taxi driver delivers baby girl in his cab
The term 'special delivery' got a whole new meaning after a Dublin taxi driver helped his passenger give birth in the back of his cab.
Adamstown driver Keith Mooney was set for another regular day of taking punters around the capital last Thursday until he agreed to a fare just a few doors down from his house.
The heavily pregnant passenger, Sonia Akhigbe, needed to get to the Coombe Hospital right away, but little did she know that her baby had no intention of waiting around.
Within minutes of getting on to the N4, Mr Mooney got the shock of his life when his passenger screamed: "Oh my God, my waters just broke."
Realising getting her to the Coombe was no longer possible, the quick-thinking taxi man decided to take matters into his own hands, in the most literal sense.
"I couldn't believe what was happening, but I knew I had to remain calm to keep this lady's stress levels to a minimum," he said.
"I assured her that everything would be all right and that an ambulance was on the way.
"My wife had a baby just eight weeks ago, so thankfully I knew what to expect.
"I pulled in by the bus stop near Liffey Valley and asked her permission, before looking to see if I could spot the head coming out.
"After a few moments, she started shouting, 'It's coming, it's coming'. I then ran around to the other side of the car and discretely pushed across her clothing as the baby was delivered.
"I was the only person around and was so caught up in the moment that I hadn't much time to process the gravity of the situation.
"I held the baby in my arms and made sure that the umbilical cord wasn't wrapped around her neck, and took off my T-shirt to clean the baby's mouth and nose.
"I asked if the mother could remove her top so the baby could have skin-to-skin contact and I put my jacket and shirt around them for warmth.
"It must have all happened within the space of 15 minutes," he added.
The 35-year-old, who only started driving a taxi six weeks ago, was then advised by the 999 operator to put on the car's heating and prepare for the afterbirth.
"He asked me to tie a shoelace six inches around the baby's cord, but the only problem was that I was wearing slip-on shoes and Sonia was wearing flip-flops," he said.
"However, I had a phone charger which was apparently perfect for the job.
"Several minutes later the afterbirth came along, by which time the ambulance and fire service arrived and took over."
As she was being taken away into the ambulance, Mr Mooney assured Ms Akhigbe that he wouldn't dream of charging her for the short trip.
"She had enough on her plate as it was, and I was just happy everything had worked out perfectly," he said.
"My wife and I have since visited the couple in their home and I'm sure this adventure will be the start of a very long friendship."
Speaking to the Herald, Ms Akhigbe, who is now a mother-of-five, said she can't thank Mr Mooney enough for his help.
"I'm just so happy because he remained so calm during my delivery and made sure I was as comfortable as possible," she said.
"You don't find people like him every day and I'm just so happy that I can now call him a very good friend.
"Our daughter's name is Dawn and I'm sure we'll be telling her this story hundreds of times down through the years."
Dublin Fire Brigade later wished Ms Akhigbe and her new baby congratulations via Twitter.
"Congrats to Mum and her new baby daughter after a speedy arrival in a taxi on the N4 at Liffey Valley," it said.
"Taxi man Keith Mooney assisted Mum with the delivery with instructions over the phone from our emergency controllers before the arrival of paramedics."