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Monday, March 19, 2012

Blind Leading the Blind

A few days ago I saw the most heart warming thing on the Orange line. I stood on the platform waiting for my train. I noticed a college girl with a back pack the size of her strapped to her back. I also noticed a man with a seeing eye dog to the left of her. Our train came in and was packed. I didn’t make it on the train and neither did they. The train pulls away and we wait.

“Why didn’t you even try to get on that train?” The girls asks the blind guy.
“I could tell by the sound of the train that it had too many people already in it. I can’t cram on with my dog so I will wait.” He says.
“You can tell by the sound?” She is baffled.
“Yes, the weight of the train makes different noises. You can tell when one is bogged down and one isn’t. I bet we get on the next one.”
“Oh!” She is still baffled.
“Where are you headed?” he asks her.
“I am trying to get to South Station. I hope I’m on the right track.”
“You’re not from around here?” he asks.
“No, I am trying to get from my college in Maine to my parents in New Jersey.”
“Well, I am heading that way. Follow me.”
“Follow you?”
“I know exactly where you need to go and am probably the best person to get you there. If I don’t know where I am going, I become lost in the dark!”
“You have a point. I appreciate it!”

The train pulls in to North Station and he says “We’ll get on this one. This one sounds light.” Low and behold it was!! It was practically empty. We all board the train and she is standing on the right side of the train. He grabs a hold of her arm and says “You will want to stand over here. We need to get off on this side. It’s easier to already be on the side of the train you need to get off of. Now we count three stops.” She looks up on the board and counts off three stops. “We get off at Down Town Crossing?” she asks. He replies “Yes. That’s exactly where we need to get off.”

While they are chit chatting, his dog pulls himself over to a woman standing on the train. This woman didn’t say a word. She just bent down to pet the dog. The blind guy turns in her direction and says “You must be a woman. He’s got a thing for the ladies.” The woman laughs and says “I am. You know your dog well.”

This man was amazing. He could tell by the sound of the train whether he can get on or not. He knew the side of the train he needed to get off of, he knew the stops by count not by name. For a blind person to guide an able bodied person around the city was absolutely amazing to me and I thought it was the best because he was more in tune with the T system than any one I know.

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