Blind Inspiration

I haven’t seen him for a while but the impression he left on me has lasted for months.  About three or four times over the last couple of years a blind man would board my bus.  He is accompanied by his trusty and loyal seeing eye dog, a beautiful male black lab of about 80 pounds.  He always sits right in the front seat and asks the bus driver to let him know when he has reached his destination.

His dog is very cute and so well behaved.  On one particular day, a high school student entered the bus quickly and didn’t see the dog sitting at his owner’s feet.  She stepped on the dog’s foot.  The black lab abruptly sat up and pull his feet underneath his body but did nothing else.  He didn’t whine or bark.  His owner knew what had happened since he had been petting his dog and simply touched the dog’s face telling him that he’d be ok.  (Picture at right is not the actual dog.)

Just when I thought I couldn’t be more inspired one day he got on the bus not only with his faithful dog but also his son.  His son looked to be about 2 years old and was strapped to his body in a holster, facing out from the man’s chest.  His son was so well behaved as they talked together quietly.  His son wasn’t blind and he looked around at all of the people on the bus and out at the scenery going by.  He looked back at his dad with such admiration and love.  His dad was feeling his face, determining which way his son was looking.  I started to imagine what it would be like if I had never seen my son’s physical characteristics.  And it made me sad for this gentleman to miss out on watching his child’s expressions.

Most people wouldn’t give it a second thought, but I’m not only intrigued by his ability to travel independently but I’m also impressed by it.  I tried to put myself in his shoes but for a few minutes.  What would it be like trying to get around the city without being able to see where you’re going?  I would close my eyes on the bus for a few blocks to replicate the experience.  It was uncomfortable to say the least.

Most of us take our eye sight for granted.  So much of what we do in our every day lives depends on the ability to see.  I often wonder what happened to this gentleman to cause him to go blind.  Was he blind from birth?  Was it an accident that caused his blindness suddenly?  Or was it a degenerative diseased that had caused him to lose his sight slowly.

I challenge you to take the plunge into blindness, just to experience what this man and so many other visually impaired people deal with on a daily basis.  Give it a try at home for 10 minutes.  Blind fold yourself and walk around your house or apartment.  See if you can accomplish a simple task, like pouring a glass of water.  Try getting ready for bed with your eyes closed, brushing your teeth and going to the bathroom.  If you’re really up for a challenge, enlist the help of a friend and go for a walk around the block (don’t do this alone).  I’m sure you’ll gain a ton of respect for these individuals who “see” the world much differently than the sighted.


About brianwawryk
PMP and Prince2 certified project manager.

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