Being blind comes with its own everyday challenges and one British man is raising awareness about them so others can be more understanding.
37-year-old Amit Patel lost his sight in 2012. To get around it, he relies on his amazing guide dog, Kika, and she does a great job when it comes to navigating Amit's way.
If you ever wondered why dad is so concerned about my wellbeing when out & about, maybe this video will give you a glimpse of just how much focus I need to navigate a busy environment. I’m expected to do this day in & day out!@BlindDad_Uk #KikaCam #TheKikaEffect @guidedogs pic.twitter.com/dp6DPtsMhr— Kika 🇬🇧 (@Kika_GuideDog) March 29, 2018
For a long time, Amit faced frequent discriminations and, sometimes, even abuse on a daily basis. To get a clearer picture of what really happened, he decided to attach a GoPro to Kika.
Amit revealed to Mashable that people would often shove him out of his way. Even Kika was often hit with things like umbrellas and bags by passers-by.
Since attaching the camera, his wife, Seema would review the video at the end of each day to see what happened. The family would also share some of these experiences on Kika's Twitter page to raise awareness about the issue.
Learning how to cope with (& ignore!) distractions is a key part of my training as a #GuideDog. I have a feeling Dad is slightly taking the mickey with this one though! We’re back to the hustle & bustle of #London tomorrow, I have a feeling I’m going to miss my new friends 😋 pic.twitter.com/a1N4o1COka— Kika 🇬🇧 (@Kika_GuideDog) July 11, 2018
Amit recalled one particularly horrifying incident. A woman went off on him because he was taking a little longer on the escalator. Amit said he was carrying his 2-month-old baby in his arms and the dog was blocking the escalator.
The lady suddenly began yelling at him, even though he explained that he could not walk up the escalator because of Kika. The woman did not let up and she kept complaining that she was now going to miss her train because of 'the dog.'
Amit admitted that most people are usually nice, though. However, there were a couple of times that some mean people insulted him and made him feel uncomfortable.
On one occasion, a parent demanded that he allowed their kids to pet the dog even after Amit explained that Kika was working and this would be distracting.
Then, there was a lady on a bus who screamed at Amit and Kika for 20 minutes, claiming the dog had rabies. Nobody came to his defense, he told Mashable.
We had some very special company on our way home from nursery today - 2 of little bro’s buddies! Luckily, everyone was on their best behaviour, which made my job so much easier! #BlindParent @BlindDad_Uk #GuideDog #TheLittleBroEffect #TheKikaEffect pic.twitter.com/j4LbWWZOaB— Kika 🇬🇧 (@Kika_GuideDog) July 5, 2018
Despite these negative examples, Amit is always touched by people who go out of their way to help him. Sometimes, some people would kindly approach him and ask if there was anything they could do or if he needed assistance.
It's instances like this that warm Amit's heart and he hopes he's able to raise awareness about the prejudice a blind person faces in addition to the usual challenges. Let us hope that people listen and show a little more kindness to him and other blind people they encounter as well.