Byon January 10, 2017
Five years after losing his sight to a rare condition, Amit Patel has come to rely on his guide dog Kika to travel around London.
— Kika (@Kika_GuideDog) September 18, 2016
But not everyone has been empathetic to the 37-year-old’s handicap.
Deciding to raise awareness on the issue, Amit has been attaching a GoPro camera to his guide dog – and the results are shocking.
Watch the video below.
“The video came out of necessity,” explains Amit.
“Kika was getting hit by peoples’ bags and she was getting a lot of abuse. A woman stopped me one day and had a go at me for holding everyone up and said I should apologise, which was a real shock.
“I was with my 2-month old baby on my chest, the dog on the left side blocking the escalator.
Up at 5.30am, back home at 5.30pm, 15km walked, 10 London stations visited – all in a day's work! Sweet dreams everyone! pic.twitter.com/mzMdNqFBvs
— Kika (@Kika_GuideDog) January 6, 2017
“I told her I couldn’t walk up the escalator because of my dog. She had a go, saying was going to miss the train because of my dog.”
Amit says the worst part is “the tutting and negative comments behind me.”
“People are so rude and arrogant and assume they can do whatever they want.”
With the help of his able-sighted wife, Seema, Amit has shared the footage on Kika’s Twitter page to raise awareness about the discrimination and hardships blind people face daily.
— Kika (@Kika_GuideDog) January 2, 2017
A former doctor, Amit lost his vision to a condition called Keratoconus, which changes the shape of the cornea.
“It’s difficult enough to travel across London — imagine with eyes shut, no useful vision at all,” he said. “One thing I’ve found being recently blind is the loneliness. I rely on Kika and on hearing. But I always try to leave the house with a smile on my face.”
He admits that “it’s embarrassing shouting around for assistance.”
“I’m just a Londoner who wants to blend in with the environment, don’t want to cause attention.”
@Kika_GuideDog you're doing an amazing job! Thanks for sharing your experience! Whish you the best for you and your family!
— Eliseo (@ERR_75) January 6, 2017
Despite interactions with “rude” and “arrogant” people, Amit says it’s not all bad.
“Once I got off at the wrong station and Kika got lost. A guy saw me from the distance and walked over to me, touched me on the shoulder and asked if I needed help. He took me all the way to the right one.”
Sources: metro.co.uk, mashable.com, twitter.com