DRIVER Debbie Doody went to the car wash expecting to pay £15.
But it turned into a nightmare trip that ended up costing her £364.
The 40-year-old single mum and her nine-year-old son, Joshua Doody, were left stranded at Best Hand Car Wash, in Southampton Road, Portchester, after her car key snapped.
Debbie says the key was broken after she handed it to staff at the car wash, but employees say it was already broken.
She had to pay £8 for a taxi home, plus £150 for the car to be towed to her house in Hilsea, Portsmouth and a further £206 for a new key at the Vauxhall garage.
Debbie, of Kestrel Road, Hilsea, said: ‘I got out and handed them my car keys.
‘It started to rain so I went to sit in the waiting room.
‘I just sat down and the bloke came back in and said “I can’t start the car”.
‘He said “I can’t find the silver bit”.’
Debbie said she and two members of public were on their hands and knees searching for the key in the dirt.
‘It was raining and I was covered in mud,’ she said.
‘I was crying. I said “I’m stranded”. I didn’t have any spare keys. I said “I’m stranded here with my autistic son and how am I going to get back?”
Car wash worker Mohammad Moberan said: ‘I wasn’t here, but my friend (Hassan Abullah) was here and she left the car keys with him.
‘When she gave them to him, they were already broken.
‘We offered to give her £50 and she took it, and she said nothing else.
‘When we put the key in the ignition it was broken already. We gave her £50 because we didn’t want any anger or fighting. If it wasn’t broken already why would she have taken the £50?’