Monday, May 03, 2004

There is nothing that touches me more than seeing a blind person making his way in New York City.

Last week, I heard a man singing on my subway car while I was reading my magazine and I thought it was just one-of-those bums who are always singing on the train for change. When I looked over, I saw that it was a blind man standing in the middle of the subway car - singing. How did he even know he was standing directly in the middle of the subway car so that everyone could hear him?

About once a week, a see a blind person on a train alone with their walking sticks and I can’t help but think to myself, “How do they do it?” I couldn’t imagine being blind at all living in any city in the United States – let alone being a blind person in New York City.

But some people aren’t as fortunate as others.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed my stop on the train because I was too busy reading my magazine to realize where I was. When I walk in areas I’ve never walked in before, there are times I have to make U-turns because I’ve walked down the wrong street. And I see these people with walking sticks and wonder “Do they ever get lost? Do they ever miss their stop?”

People are always in a rush here in New York. There is always someone running to catch a train. There is always someone running across the street before that red hand starts blinking telling pedestrians they need to stop walking or a car is going to run them over. How does a blind person know when that light is going to change?

They might run out of time to catch their train. Or run out of time to cross the street. How do they know where the door is to the subway car or where to cross at a cross-walk?

What amazes me most is that these people never ask to sit down on the train. They never ask for help getting up stairs. They never ask what street they are walking on or what subway stop they are at. They never ask for help from anyone.

And why is that? Do they have too much pride to ask for help? Do they REALLY know where they are going? Or do they just take their time, slow down, take deep breaths and just make the best of their days?

I just thank God everyday that I have eyes to see with.

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