July 30, 2012

Leading the Blind

Waiting for the train this morning--on the platform, there is a blind woman.

The train pulls up, and I help the blind lady to the train door, saying "it's just to the right."

The blind lady gets on and staggers herself over to where the seats usually are right next to the door, but on this model of the train, it is just an empty space. 

She goes across the aisle to the other side to try and sit down, and reaches out with her arm, but ends up touching this other lady's head.

But the other lady is quite comfortable in her seat and doesn't flinch or budge. 

The funny (read sad) thing about this is that there an empty seat on the inside right next to her--but she doesn't move over, nor does she direct the blind lady to the empty seat next to her or anyplace else either.

Actually, the lady sitting all comfy--doesn't say a word--to the contrary, she nudges the blind lady away from her seat. 

The blind lady is left standing there--groping for somewhere to go.

As the train lurches forward--beginning to moving out of the station--the blind lady make a shuffled dash heading for the other side of the train to try to feel for another seat--and she begins to stumble.

I jump up from the other side and having no time, awkwardly just grab for her hand, so she does not fall.

The lady is startled and pulls back, and I explain that I am just trying to help her get safely to a seat.

I end up giving her my seat--it was just easier than trying to guide her to another vacant one, and she sits down.

I was glad that I was able to do something to assist--it was a nice way to start out the week--even if only in a small way. 

But honestly, I also felt upset at the other lady, who so blatantly just disregarded the needs of the handicapped.  

I do not understand the callousness--doesn't she realize that a person with a disability or handicap could be any one of us--even her. 

My mind starting racing about what I had heard from the pulpit about sins of omission and commission, and I know I shouldn't have, but I couldn't help sort of staring at the lady who was all smug--wondering again and again about who she was, what was she thinking (or not), and basically is that what most people would do.

I watch other people help each other every day, and I've got to believe inside that most people are better than that.

(Source Photo: adapted from here with attribution to Neils Photography)


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