It WAS the embarrassing moment lifelong Jambo Stephen Maloney decided things had to change.
The 43-year-old cabbie was unable to squeeze his 23-stone frame through the Tynecastle turnstiles and was forced to use the disabled entrance instead.
Adding insult to injury, the whole incident was witnessed by his daughter Lucy, who had accompanied him to the game.
But Stephen has since shed nine stone in nine months and is limbering up for the London Marathon, having already achieved his fundraising target.
He said: “In my job I’m obviously sitting down a lot, and it’s too easy to have a packet of crisps or biscuits on the go as I drive.
“But when I got stuck in the turnstile at Hearts, I saw my 11-year-old daughter’s face looking so embarrassed and I realised something had to be done.
“I couldn’t squeeze through and someone said ‘It’s OK, just go through the disabled entrance.
“Last June I thought, enough is enough. I’m morbidly obese and am on course for a heart attack or diabetes.
“It was at that time I made a conscious effort to change my life for good.
“I remembered how much I enjoyed running, so started long walks in a bid to start running once I was light enough.
“After a few months I had gone from 22 stone down to 15 stone and thought this would be a perfect time to start running.
“The rest is history really. I’m about 13 stone at the minute.”
The cabbie, who drives for taxi app Gett, hasn’t had an alcoholic drink since June and has cut down on his carbs.
Now weighing in at just 13.5 stone, Stephen is well on his way to raising thousands of pounds for Sense, the charity supporting children and young people with deafblindness.
He added: “Before I lost the weight I couldn’t really get up the stairs that easily but I’m now running between 50 and 70 miles a week, and it’s great to be able to raise some money for charity at the same time.”
Stephen has now met his £1,500 fundraising target ahead of schedule as he prepares for the London Marathon on April 24, thanks partly to a £300 donation from his employers.
“This is an amazing achievement by Stephen, one of our top drivers in Edinburgh,” said Chris Elsheikhi from Gett.
“Stephen knows the streets like the back of his hand so he can find exactly where the best running routes are.
“We were happy to support him in his tremendous effort and we look forward to hearing his marathon time.”
Stephen previously lost a similar amount of weight but piled on the pounds again after he suffered from a torn muscle in his leg.
He hopes to keep his weight at around the 13 stone mark.