Thursday 19 October 2017

Blind man puts camera on guide dog to expose daily abuse from commuters

Man says he is constantly pushed out of the way as he travels around with his guide dog Kika

Amit Patel and his guide dog Kika (Photo: Twitter)
Amit Patel and his guide dog Kika (Photo: Twitter)

Henry Austin

A blind man fitted his guide dog with a camera to highlight the discrimination he faces while travelling around London.

Amit Patel, 37, said he is constantly pushed out of the way as he navigates around the trains and buses of the capital with Kika his guide dog.

The father-of-one lost his sight unexpectedly in 2012 when he was diagnosed with keratoconus, six months after he got married.

While Mr Patel said the majority of Londoners are “fantastic” towards him and his dog, he does admit to losing his temper on “bad days”.

He added that he decided to video his commute so that his wife Seema can share footage on social media to raise awareness.

"It all started when people barged me out of the way, they hit [Kika] with umbrellas, bags, I get shoulder charged every day and when my wife looks back at the footage she can see they have done it deliberately,” he told ITV News.

"They have loads of space to get past but they seem to think it is fun to barge into a blind person."

Describing one particularly shocking encounter, in a separated interview with London’s Evening Standard newspaper,  he said a woman ordered him to apologise to travellers on an escalator at London Bridge as him and Kika were on it.

And he also recounted passengers barging ahead of Kika to get seats on packed Tube trains and others knocking into her while jostling for space.

His guide dog is so loyal to Mr Patel that she even saved his life when a car jumped a red light at a crossing.

"She saw the car and she got in front of me and took the hit - the car grazed her nose. It was three days before she could work again," Mr Patel said. "She's there for me and looks after me, sometimes it's a bit of give and take."

He is nonetheless determined to continue travelling as he now volunteers for RNIB, Action for Blind People and Guide Dogs for the Blind to help coach new guide dog users.

Independent News Service

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