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Blind Man Attaches Camera To Guide Dog To Film Abuse He Gets On A Daily Basis
Amit and Kika are regularly pushed out of the way (Picture: SWNS)
January 7th, 2017 | 09:44 AM | 581 views
Amit Patel is unable to see much of the discrimination he faces – but his guide dog has helped him become aware of the extent of it.
The 37-year-old former A&E doctor, who lost his sight five years ago to keratoconus, fitted a GoPro camera to his dog Kika’s back to film some of the abuse he suffers on a daily basis while simply trying to get around London.
Travellers were filmed not getting up from their seats as he and Kika stood in train carriages; staff were recorded seeing him and ignoring his cries for assistance; and people were even caught hitting him and Kika with their umbrellas and bags.
Every day he uploads the footage to his computer, and his able-sighted wife Seema helps him to review it all. Many times she will notice something he didn’t know about at the time – like a woman putting her bags on an empty seat instead of letting Amit sit down.
Watch some of the footage here:
People barging past Amit in the station
Kika is one of only 5% of guide dogs that are trained to take their owners on escalators, but she can still get very upset when other users hit her or barge past her.
‘It all started when people barged me out of the way [on the escalator],’ he said. ‘They have loads of space to get past, but they seem to think it is fun to barge into a blind person.
‘Kika always sits to my left hand side so we often block the escalator, and people will hit her with bags and umbrellas to get her to move out of the way.
‘The worst part is the tutting and negative comments behind me. People are so rude and arrogant and assume they can do whatever they want.’
Amit even described being ordered to apologise for ‘holding people up’ on the escalator.
‘One lady even said I should apologise to the people behind her for holding them up. I asked her if I should apologise for being blind and she said “yes”.’
He added that Kika gets scared when people hit her on the escalators – and so does he.
‘It really scares Kika sometimes. I can feel how upset she gets, and when I get upset she senses it as well – and she won’t go on the escalators for a few days.’
Passengers not giving up their seats for Amit and Kika
Amit travels almost every day on Southeastern trains to London Bridge, and then on the London Underground.
While travelling, people will often ignore him and not give up their seats. One woman even kept her shopping bags on the empty seat next to her, and wouldn’t budge.
‘People just don’t care,’ Amit said. ‘They assume I’m going to take up the whole carriage.
‘Sometimes I get a train with my four-month-old son and I say quite loudly, “Kika, find me a seat”, but no one budges.
‘When my wife reviewed a piece of footage once, a lady was sitting on a seat and had her shopping on the one next to her.
‘Sometimes the only way I get a seat is to scratch Kika behind the ears so she shakes a little. No one likes a wet dog.’
Ignored by station staff and cab drivers
Amit has a specific route he usually takes, but he says that when he is in unfamiliar surroundings – because roads or tube lines on his normal route are closed – he has been ignored by station staff.
In one video clip filmed by Kika, he waits for five minutes for staff to help him – despite them looking directly him. Eventually he has to call out for assistance.
Those staff members claimed they didn’t see Amit and Kika, but footage later reviewed by Amit’s wife showed otherwise.
Amit has also filmed taxis refusing to stop for him, and passers-by distracting Kika by touching her.
‘There are taxi drivers who will see you and won’t stop, sometimes train staff will say they didn’t see me when they clearly did,’ he said.
‘People even walk right up to me but then swerve at the last minute. They also come up to Kika and touch her and distract her while she is walking, which puts her off.’
‘A scared little boy’
Amit said Kika once saved his life when a car ran a red light at a crossing in Lewisham.
‘She saw the car and she got in front of me and took the hit,’ he said. ‘The car grazed her nose. It was three days before she could work again.’
Amit now volunteers with RNIB, Action for Blind People, and Guide Dogs for the Blind to help coach new guide dog users.
But even then, being ignored, pushed around and abused makes the simple process of getting around terrifying for him.
‘Losing my sight was very lonely,’ Amit said. ‘If I’m travelling by public transport, I’m sometimes like a scared little boy sat in the corner.’
courtesy of METRO
by Ashitha Nagesh
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