Dear random pedestrian,
You never knew it but you really helped a disabled person today.
You came to be walking in front of me, in a environment that I found tricky to navigate alone with my visual impairment. Thank you!
In a bustling street or on a path facing a glaring sun or at a dark restaurant – where I couldn’t see the destination, correct route or hazards – you were a beacon. I could mimic your movements to avoid people and objects. You led me to my destination by simple virtue of it being yours too.
Your distinctive clothing played a part in why I selected you, as was your air of confidence and similar walking speed to my own. But mostly it was chance that meant I caught a glimpse of you, someone hopefully going my way.
Residual sight and any mobility aids are very useful for getting around by myself. But I often need a steer towards the right way, to be safe or allay my feeling of confusion, embarrassment or even fear. This may be for several minutes or matter of seconds. Crossing a road is a common example. It’s often in unfamiliar settings, such as finding the toilets in venue. It’s also when there are unknowns during my regular journey. For example which ticket gates to use today at the station or unexpected changes like road work diversions.
You and all the other people, that visually impaired people like me use for guidance every day can’t be thanked individually. So I want to say a collective thank you strangers, for being there. You made life easier. I hope you had a good day too.