I'm fortunate enough to have all of my physical faculties well within my control. With the exception of a left knee that slightly wobbles and gives out on me if I'm not a careful, I'm physically fit enough to walk, run, jump, and wake up in the middle of the night to raid the refrigerator and destroy my diet.
So I can only imagine what it's like to live and operate in the world without the use of my major sense like sound or sight.
Thankfully, we live in a day and age where programs and initiatives have started to help those are who disabled, like seeing-eye dogs. Unfortunately though, not everyone is courteous to the disabled or their canine companions.
Amit Patel, a 37-year-old who was a former doctor, lost his vision back in 2012. His guide dog, Kika, is instrumental in helping him navigate London.
Oftentimes, Amit would be frustrated in his travels by the inconsideration and flat out abuse at the hands of others. This gave him an idea.
He'd strap a GoPro to Kika to capture some of the mistreatment in the hopes of raising awareness to some of the challenges the blind face daily.
The results were shocking, to say the least.
In an interview with Mashable, Patel said that Kika got "abused" and was hit with "umbrellas [and] bags". In another incident, a woman publicly chewed him out and blamed him for missing her train because he couldn't run up the escalator - even after he explained that he was blind.
Some people got salty when Patel explained to them that they couldn't pet the dog and said that he should be "respectful" towards them if they want to touch it.
Being well behaved as my little bro holds my lead ?? pic.twitter.com/Yv2ckLBcDg— Kika (@Kika_GuideDog) December 17, 2016
"It's difficult enough to travel across London — imagine with eyes shut, no useful vision at all. One thing I've found being recently blind is the loneliness. I rely on Kika and on hearing. But I always try to leave the house with a smile on my face."
Patel lost his sight due to an illness called keratoconus. It changed the shape of his cornea and the six transplants he attempted all failed.
Patel avers that 99% of the time he doesn't have an issue with people and passengers are usually respectful, but there was an instance where one passenger shouted that his dog had rabies and needed to get off the train and no one came to him or Kika's aid.
For Patel, Kika not only gives him a sense of companionship, but also independence.
"It's embarrassing shouting around for assistance. I'm just a Londoner who wants to blend in with the environment, don't want to cause attention. Once I got off at the wrong station and Kika got lost. A guy saw me from the distance and walked over to me, touched me on the shoulder and asked if I needed help. He took me all the way to the right one."
Hopefully more people will be friendly and considerate of the needs of others, especially those who are not as fortunate to possess all of their physical faculties.
Plus, how the hell could you be mean to a cute yellow lab like Kika?! It defies logic!