A RESTAURANT is facing a backlash after a soldier helping snowbound motorists claimed he was charged 50p to go to the toilet.
Troops were posted to assist stranded travellers on the A702 – a major route linking Edinburgh with the M74.
After toiling in horrendous conditions for four hours yesterday, the squaddies used the toilets at The Flotterstone Inn, near Penicuik, Midlothian.
The row erupted when a stranded motorist, John McInally Jnr, posted on Facebook: “Stuck at the Flotterstone Inn and the landlady is charging the squaddies 50p to use the toilet.
“They’re posted here to help the stranded travellers.”
The post was shared by Sharen McShane who tagged the Flotterstone’s Facebook page and added: “If this is true then shame on you.”
Greg Telford did the same and said: “Get this shared. Absolutely disgusting behaviour from the Flotterstone Inn.”
Caroline Lind said: “What a bloody cheek they should be watering and feeding them no charging to have a pee. Disgusting.”
And Gail Thomson said: “What she is doing is shocking especially when helping others. Blooming nerve of some people.”
Responding to the circulation of criticism, the restaurant took to their Facebook page to deny the claim.
They wrote: “To set the record straight. We did not charge squaddies to use the toilet.
“A bus load of tourist came in to use the toilet. They offered to pay 50p as they weren’t staying to eat or drink. We accepted the offer and the cash will go to charity.”
But John McInally Jnr stuck to his guns, adding: “There was a busload of tourists yes, but the squaddies who came in after them were asked to pay 50p and one of them was outraged and left after heated words.”
Then a Facebook user called Curtis Craven, who lists his work as “Infantry at British Army” responded.
Curtis wrote: “It did happen. They tried to charge me and my mate for using the toilet..
“We thought that she was going to offer drinks for us for standing out there for four hours but no, it was, ‘If you’re not getting food or drink – 50p for using the toilet’.”
After the soldier’s intervention, restaurant chef Andrew Campbell said: “Look mate I’m the chef at the Flotterstone Inn and all I can do is just apologise.
“Saw what you and your mate done. I seen you outside with the bus and helping with traffic in the bad conditions.”
He later added: “On behalf of all the people you assisted a big thank you to you and your pal.
“If you and your pal pop up to the Flott the meal and beers are on me to say thank you.”
Speaking today the owner of the Flotterstone Inn, John Still, claimed a joke had been misinterpreted.
He said: “They came in and we said for a joke, ‘Oh you’ll have to pay as well’.
“One of my staff knows them and there was no malice at all. They’re coming up for a meal, just for they’re help and being out for four hours.
“Some of the comments are just terrible. I don’t have social media but my secretary was disgusted by them.”