‘Could you help me?’ They pretended I didn’t exist and placed a stigma on me.’: Blind woman shares ‘humiliating’ experience while on walk with guide dog

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“Yesterday, Poppi and I decided to work on rebuilding my confidence with another coming-out-of-COVID independent walk. We needed to walk along Parramatta River to get from one side of town to the other to meet a friend.

We went to go our usual way, only to find the path was blocked. I asked Poppi to find the way and she took me to some steps I never knew existed. I wondered if this was part of the new boardwalk that had been built.

I was trying to tell if there was an opening in the fence to get through, like in other construction areas, or if I could keep walking and the boardwalk would go around. However, there was a risk I could fall right into the river if the boardwalk ended.

I noticed two dark shapes and heard voices. I knew they were two young people chatting about their UNI. So, I walked over to them and asked if they could help me.

To my embarrassment, they ignored me and spoke louder, pretending I didn’t exist. The stigma they placed on me was humiliating. Worse still, I really couldn’t make a safe decision to move forward without help.

My only option was to get help or walk ten minutes in the opposite direction. I decided to try and call a virtual assistant and was fumbling with my phone. I was so embarrassed by their response I was shaking.

I then heard a really loud wolf whistle from across the river. A man then yelled out, ‘What’s wrong with you two people, that you can’t take five seconds to help that blind lady? Look what’s going on.’

It took them no more than 30 seconds to tell me I couldn’t get around and they probably moved on with their day. I wish they had realized how hard it had been for me to get the confidence up to try and get out, and how hurtful their behavior was. I’m so glad I had Poppi beside me to figure our way back.”

Courtesy of Liz

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Liz. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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