On Stage


On Stage

This was written and used when I and other American professionals within the field of blindness provided training the trainers of the blind in Turkey.

     "Rain! What a mess!" Emin said, hand on the doorknob, white cane standing upright at his side, his apartment door half open. It was Tuesday morning. The forecasts had mentioned the possibility of rain, "a chance of scattered showers" is how the announcer had predicted the weather for today. When his alarm rang, when he prepared to go to work, nothing, no sign of rain. But now he had to decide what to do. "Ah well, ..." he said aloud, "here we are, there is no option, I will have to go in late." He hoped this shower would be of a short duration. If it ran too long, it could ruin his project's timing at work and his after work evening plans, the concert with friends. Speaking aloud again, "What shall be, will be."

     Two hours later, Emin's supervisor came over to where Emin was just preparing his workstation for the day. "Good day to you, Emin! Well, except for the weather," he laughed. "That was a nasty rain we had. Staff were all mud-spattered and bedraggled when they first came in. You were wise to miss it."

     Later that afternoon, his friend Ameenah passed by and exclaimed, "Emin, you are still here! You will miss your ride? Better let me shutdown your computer and you run!" Her next words were spoken in such a way that Emin knew she looked down at her wristwatch as she spoke. "There is time for me to help you get to the bus stop fast and get back if that would help?" Emin's leaving each workday one half hour before all other staff was a known and accepted fact. Otherwise the bus which came after the normal closing time would mean he must wait for a half hour.

     "Oh no, thank you! No I have not lost track of the time. I am purposefully staying longer today. I have plans to attend a concert this evening and so right after work I will meet up with two of my friends for dinner. Later we will bus to the concert hall. So I thank you for being concerned for me."

     Two hours later, at the restaurant Emin spoke to his companions, Miriam and Aladdin. "We need to hurry you two!" This dinner has taken much, much too long. I am sure we will miss our bus!"

     At the bus stop, Aladdin said, "There goes our bus! Oh well, we will take the next one and will make it just before the first notes." And with the arrival of the next bus, the three friends hurriedly mounted the steps. The driver seeing that they were blind did not question them as they moved past the fare box and found seats.

     Arriving at the concert center, the friends again hurried. They were not the only last minute arrivals. There was a long line of people waiting to pay and be seated.

     "Please, pass us by!" "Go to the front of the line, be our guests!" Several people in the line spoke up as soon as the three blind friends showed up at the end of the line. And giving their thanks, the friends moved toward the head of the queue.

     Along the way to the front, Emin's cane tapped the leg of a young man who was unaware of people coming up behind him and as he turned to say something to the person who had so rudely bumped him, his companion grabbed him by the elbow, hissing in his ear, "Step back, let them pass; they are blind."

     At the ticket window, the three friends paid their fees and were shown in. The two ushers got them to their seats just as the first notes sounded.


e-mail responses to newmanrl@cox.net

1. You know, this story is filled with lots of common scenarios for me. Living in a west Indian island, I'm often faced with the overly helpful and the well intentioned. Most of the time, I try to be courteous about it and accept help if and when necessary. However, there are those times, when I must be mindful of the fact that the offers to help will only serve to reduce me to the rank of the "handicapped" (a term I despise). Some people tell me that I should accept the help offered and not be so picky. I have found though that giving in to these impulses all the time leaves me vulnerable in the future to being thought of as helpless and incompetent. Sometimes I choose to stand in cue just because everyone else is doing it. One of the most annoying things I have to deal with is the custom of parking all blind people in wheelchairs when we're traveling. They use the argument "its a long walk!" I tell them nothing is wrong with my feet. However, I will confess that its sometimes placed me in an awkward position because when I really could use a helping hand, my overwhelming independence usually tells others that I'll be okay and then I'm too proud to ask. I think we need to be very mindful of the situation and determine what are the short term and long-term benefits or consequences of our actions.


Kerryann Ifill

**2. My first impression, when beginning this provoker, was that Emin seemed to feel comfortable going to work late, because it was raining. I don't know many employers, here, who would accept rain as an excuse for going in late. But, his supervisor didn't seem to mind. Then, it was taken for granted that he would leave work half an hour before others, in order to get the earlier bus; rather than waiting half an hour for the next bus, after the
end of the work day.

Emin and his friends didn't have to pay to ride the bus, when sighted people apparently do, since there is a fare box. At the concert, it was taken for granted, both by the public and Emin and his friends, that they would be
sent to the front of the line, because they're blind.

On one hand, it's commendable that Emin has a job and that there is public transportation so he can get around, without too much difficulty. But, he also takes advantage of special accommodations given to him, because he's blind. It may be something which has always been, so it's expected. But, he and his friends might feel more like first class citizens if they chose to refuse the special treatment and get to work on time, even in the rain; pay the fare on the bus, and stand in line, with everyone else, to go into a
concert...even if they are late.

It's all a learning process, both for them and for the public. But, as blind people, in the United States, who have already struggled through years of work, and education; protests and passing laws, we know that each step we take toward being seen as equal, instead of special, is one step closer to full integration into society; and, isn't that what we want?

Cindy Handel Willow Street, PA

**3. What is the point of this story? It sounds like the three blind people are used to being passed to the front of queues, let on to busses for free, and given preferential treatment? Without further cultural background, I don't really get the point, unless it is that blind people are expected to be taken care of, which fits with what the Koran says about "caring for the blind, the lame and the old as if they were your sons and daughters." The Christians have a similar thing here in the US; blind are once again the butt of charity and molly-coddling. What can you do? It's in the genes to either fear the blind or protect them, thus removing their scary quality by making them controlled peoples.

Mark BurningHalk

**4. It seems to me there are two issues here. First, Emin Has a good grasp of "acceptance," and that in more than one way. Not only can he deal with his blindness, but also has patience with the inconvenience it causes. His plans are delayed, yet he takes a "que sera sera" attitude. He does not get all flustered and bent out of shape over it. He'lets patience have her perfect work. He is definitely NOT an American.

Secondly, Emin is not offended by anyone's offer of "help." He either refuses it politely, or accepts it without comment. This also is proof he is not an American.

Emin's patience is a product of culture. In eastern societies, the young people are expected to show respect to their elders. (Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land.) There is no doubt in my mind that Emin's attitude in his workplace and on the bus had already been practiced in his home.

Aladdin sounds a bit "westernized." He does seem overly concerned about timing. He sounds like me! Ever hear the expression, "You ought to hear yourself talk"? It can be rather shocking to hear somebody else get a little edgy, because I know I would probably do the same thing in that situation. (Personally, I like to get someplace way ahead of time. I hate getting anyplace at the very last minute.)

David Lafleche

**5. I can certainly identify with this situation where well-meaning people attempt to help, and also where I am from time to time ushered to the front of the line. For me this can often be embarrassing, but what to do about the situation without being rude escapes me.


**6. I'm sure I was one of many, many individuals reading the most recent TP who came away with very strong feelings about it. What would have been interesting would have been to contrast this individual's story with that of someone who always gets to work on time, pays his bus fare, and waits his turn in line. More needs to be said about the price all of us, as individuals who are blind, pay for the thoughtless actions of a few. And then we wonder why so many job interviewers take one look at the exemplary resume of a blind person before asking that person how h/she intends to locate the restroom. Enough said.

Kimberly Morrow in KC

**7. For what it's worth:

I don't think I've decided to be late for work due to rain. I don't
like caning while using an umbrella because it messes with my sense of
where things are, but I've done it.

I do believe it is reasonable to work out a regular work schedule
based on bus schedules when that's the most sensible form of
transportation for a blind person to use. Exactly what schedule this
discussion creates is, of course, the reason it's a discussion. grin.

Being allowed to the front of the line is an issue I stood fast on for
years but more recently relaxed a bit. I believe it is reasonable, in
airports where most people use inaccessible self-check-in kiosks, to
get quicker attention from airport personnel. I am not so comfortable
with the bypassing of taxi lines when exiting airports, though this
happens often and I admit I have often done it. I do not believe in
bypassing lines at amusement parks on account of blindness because
there is absolutely no justification for it I can find. (The taxi
line justification, though weak in my eyes, is that often it's a line
people avoid by having a car or even sometimes by renting one.) I'm
afraid I have to put the concert line in the same class as the
amusement park line. Truth be told, if I was late due to
circumstances I believed were beyond my control, I might well be
tempted to allow it in a particular case; but I'm not even sure of
that, because I know I would not look myself comfortably in the eye,
so to speak, after doing so. In the same situation, a sighted person
would be more likely to plead his or her case with attendants and/or
other people in the line. The only difference with us is that our
canes plead a case for us, but not always one we want pleaded.

Doug NFB Human Service Worker

**8. Doug,
On the waiting in line Issue, I have a different take. A few months ago, I
went to a concert where the line wrapped around a couple city blocks. This
resulted in me caning to death the man and woman in front of me for about 45
Under circumstances like these, I believe jumping in line is perfectly
acceptable . While I know that if you took this example to it's extreme,
you would have a world where blind people wouldn't be able to move.
However, I reject that one-sided notion totally, and think that the
apologetics in analogous cases are sound. However, I do believe that these
accommodations should be offered, and not mandated to the blind populous.

James Brown NFB Human Service Worker

**9. Honestly, I don't see anything different than any other blind person's

I doubt my boss would be happy if I came in 2 hours late but she would be
understanding. As far as leaving 30minutes before work ended? I did that
for some of my classes in high school, leaving 5 minutes prior to everyone
else. However, after a short time of doing it, I found it was rude of me and
made things difficult for the teacher as she has not finished her lesson
for the day and I would be making noise as I get up to go. In the real world,
I don't see how it would work though. 30 minutes before everyone else? I
better get into work 30 minutes before everyone else than or else I would
only be working 37.5 hours a week.

Personally I still have a hard time with getting on-off busses and trains
because of my hearing disability. I can not hear where the door of the
bus-train is especially when it is crowded.

Culturally, again, it does not sound any different.

Thank you for continually making up-write these stories.

Jonathan Alpert NFB Human Service Worker

**10. Okay, butting in line is not exactly appropriate at all. I don't
really understand this weird provoker otherwise. I've had a lunch
line problem back in high school, and believe me, blind people should
not get special treatment.

Beth Taurasi NFB NABS

**11. I don't necessarily think it's a weird provoker at all. Rather, I think it
highlights some problems that the blind might have, especially in specific
areas or situations.

The first thing that jumped out at me was the attitude of the blind
individuals themselves. Their attitudes screamed I'm blind! I'm different! which in turn reflects on their treatment by their sighted counterparts. Why couldn't the blind worker come in just as muddy and dirty as the rest of his/her co-workers? Furthermore, why did the employer congratulate the blind employee in coming into work late due to the rain? Would this type of treatment occur and be accepted if a sighted coworker came into work two hours late due to the rain?

I'm sure that both blind and sighted workers craft convenient excuses for all kinds of different situations, but the reaction of the employer bothered me most of all.

I won't waste time going into more specifics, but just about everything was wrong with this article, and I hope it doesn't happen to this extent in most real life situations. Unfortunately, sometimes it does.


**12. When this character and others who would do likewise are not promoted--firing should be an option for such lackadaisical work, but the employer will not exercise it--or are otherwise treated unequally when the matter does not suit them, they have lost the right to complain. I am not implying that blind people ought never to do things differently. Using assistance in a buffet line in order to avoid stalling the progress of others or having a mishap as one juggles travel tool and laden tray is an example which comes readily to mind. Using blindness to avoid the inconveniences and responsibilities of adulthood while expecting the rights accruing to that station in life, though, is something else. What is worse, responsible blind people will pay the price. Such a man practiced law in my hometown. He lost his law license because of unethical conduct. He also was utterly lacking in blindness skills. I bore no resemblance to that man. I did not know him, and, frankly, I do not want to know him. Never mind. We were both blind. In the eyes of many we would always be the same--no matter how hard I worked. Trading on blindness in the office feeds into the myth that blind employees are always a drain, never the best for the job.

Karla Westjohn NFB Human Service Worker Mailing list

**13. I believe that there are two forces at work here. One of them is the culture of Turkey, which emphasizes hospitality and helping one another. The other one is the work ethic. In this TP I see an example of these two forces colliding. There is no reason why our blind hero couldn't have left for work in the rain and gotten there on time. There is no reason why he should have to leave half an hour before his colleagues. However, if someone offered to help him get to the bus and he chose to accept that's fine. If he's earning money he should have to pay his bus fair. This is a very complicated scenario because it is a case of ancient and modern customs colliding.

Chris Coulter ACB-L listserv

**14. I always like these posts and they bring up interesting situations. I think the thing that I took home from this is that so little was actually expected of this individual. Although you didn't touch on it directly you certainly at least to me hinted at the fact that two standards existed one for the sited employees and a substandard or lower standard for the blind employee. That's just all kinds of bad.) There are a few problems that pop in to mind. This sort of continuous handing out and dumbing down of the life experience for this blind fellow will build resentment in the sited community, especially his coworkers. Secondly, it devalues his contributions because so little is expected of him. All I can say is if I showed up to work late just because it was a little rainy I'd have some explaining to do. However, in my type of job we don't work on fixed schedules it's more of a work and do the work type of attitude no clock punching. So culturally schedules and work hours may be more important than they are in this country. (the trend to flexible scheduling is a growing one for all workers not just the blind) Showing up late and leaving early just projects an appearance of laziness or helplessness, neither of which further the cause. Further more, this whole free bus thing and all the people's attitudes just further this whole expectation of nothing attitude. This guy basically where ever he went had people in his face feeling sorry for him, demeaning him or assuming he was poor or unable to pay his own way. This is probably one of the things I object to the most. I think your group would do well to focus more on raising the education of the population, not educating the blind as much.) I suspect that seeing successful blind Americans traveling independently will do a lot to promote a more positive image. You'll have to report back on your treatment there and experiences. (that's if anyone lets you travel independently)

Scott Granados ACB-L listserv

**15. It's not necessary to travel to various countries to experience the patronizing behaviors that masquerade as kindness. It's likewise not necessary to look far to find blind people who have come to expect such behaviors as their due. It takes little imagination and less experience to understand that behaviors creating a role of dependence among blind people are as ubiquitous as leaves on a tree. The very word patronizing, with its origins in the Latin for "father" suggest a feeling of superiority among the sighted populace whose roots extend far back in time and the manifestations of which appear, among other places, all throughout our language. When I suggest to people who wish to move me ahead in line that I'll take my turn with the rest, I'm often greeted with a further suggestion that I am inconveniencing someone because of my choice. My thought, therefore, is this: and it's simple - Education of blind people should include bare-bones maxim, which, once internalized, will aid in changes for all. That is: "Would a sighted person avail himself of this generosity? In terms of the story, then, the question would be: Would a sighted person have a coworker shut down his computer, rush him to a bus, expect him to leave work early? Change is never easy, but thank God we are subjected to it; the alternative would be a lackluster, static life suitable more to rocks than humans.Wait, even rocks experience shaping and reshaping by nature's course - and I bet it's often painful.


**16. I just read a very interesting quote in a very interesting article profiling an O&M teacher who is blind (20/250 in the better eye, light perception in the other, and 30 percent field) who is teaching travel to blind adult students in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. This teacher has a Master of Science degree in O&M from the PCO School of Graduate Studies in Vision Impairment. Here is the quote that so very much fits your Thought Provoker 126, "On Stage":
"In Vietnam," he explains "handicapped people are the victims of kindness. There is always someone, even a stranger, happy to do everything for them." In addition to teaching cane travel, this teacher is also talking with groups and the press to work on their society's attitude toward blindness. The article is from the Spring 2007 issue of the magazine called, "PCO World" which is published by the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. The article is titled with the teacher's name: "Le Dan Bach VIet." The cover of the magazine says, "An alumnus who returned home and is bringing Orientation and Mobility education to an entire country." I noticed that the 2 photographs that show his cane are confusing to interpret. One appears to show that the folding cane he uses (black handle, 4 sections, shock cord) comes, I'd say, to his armpit. The other photo shows the top of the cane coming to his baseball hat brim, which means it reaches up to his eyebrows. However, in that photo, I cannot tell if the tip of his cane is on the floor or if he is holding the cane off the ground (which I suspect is the case because he is tall and I don't believe I've ever seen a folding cane tall enough to reach eyebrows on tall people). One student in a photo is using a crook-handled, straight cane that, I think, is also to the armpit level. Good luck to you and your intrepid team in Turkey as you get the blind Turks started on their own path to improving attitudes and skills.

Lorraine Rovig

**17. If Emin's story represents the life of a majority of Turkey's blind, I would suggest that you cancel your trip. Emin has the best of all worlds, a job, understanding coworkers and friends, privileges not extended to sighted folks, and a sense that all is well in his life. If I were Emin and your group came to my country and began telling me about the philosophy of the blind movement in the United States, I would politely suggest that you would be better to bring our culture back to your people. Without exploring attitudes toward the blind in Turkey, I would have to guess that Emin represents a very small, select group of blind Turks. Still, attempting to share our experiences and attitudes with other cultures can meet with resistance and even hostility. Not only from the establishment, but from the blind community, too. I hope you will have a moment to share with us the objectives of your group, and upon your return provide an account of this exciting adventure.

Best success.
Carl Jarvis ACB-L listserv

**18. Initially, I agreed with Carl's assessment that Evan's experience is not representative of what most of us experience. However, upon my second reading, I saw this story differently--and as all too common. For instance: how many of us accept the free or discounted fares for transit? How many times are we as blind people given special considerationby our employers because of our need to rely on public transit or paratransit services which are less than timely or dependable? And when we
are late, how quick are we to blame public transit because we know that this excuse is somehow more acceptable than the ones about oversleeping, running just a minute or two late out the door and then rationalizing it by saying that our bus was a minute or two early, and that caused us to miss it? (Come on; I do it myself. And when we're on the bus, how many of us take the seat offered in front even though there are a dozen empty seats further back? When someone allows us to cut in line, how many of us accept that offer? Sure, there are probably times we don't take the proffered spot, but if you travel from an airport (for example), and if you accept the help of an airline-provided escort, your airport experience bares very little resemblance to that of the average traveler. You go to the front of the security checkpoint line. You get a seat in the waiting area that someone wordlessly gave up when the escort made eye contact with the person sitting in the seat at the end of the row. You preboard the aircraft and do not wait in line to have your boarding pass scanned. … I'm not saying that this applies to all of us as I know of people who spurn this assistance, but many of us do not spurn it. What about discounts? Who among us turn them down all the time as a matter of principle? I'll admit that I don't seek discounts, but when my blind wife and I traveled on Greyhound, we traveled
on lots of companion tickets offered for blind travelers who traveled with another person, and I'll bet I'm not the only one. I think the difference between Evan's experience in Turkey and what most of us have here is that in Turkey, the culture probably considers these special dispensations to be matters of obligation--people to give them and his to accept them, whereas in the good old U.S. of A, I think the rules are less defined and more fluid. I have done a bit of reading about Middle Eastern culture back in my days as an International Relations graduate student, and I remember that one of the defining aspects of the social fabric in the Middle East is the idea of hospitality. People are expected to be hospitable to their guests, and it is considered the height of rudeness and bad manners to refuse hospitality. Thus, even if Evan were to feel smothered by someone's offers of hospitality, he would be considered rude to aggressively refuse them. (This fact is implicit in the exchange between himself and his coworker about her offer to shut down his computer and to give him a lift to the bus stop. In this example, he refused her offer, but only after giving a very respectful and detailed rationale as to why her offer would not be helpful.) In our U.S. culture, I think these offers of help are genuinely made by most people, but rather than being based on a larger societal norm that pertains to hospitality or civility, I think they're based on a collective fear of blindness and on the belief that it's harder for blind people to do certain things--like wait in lines, ride buses, board planes, etc. If you think about it, our society places a relatively small priority on civility and hospitality--you certainly don't see most people going out of their way to be nice to a total stranger or to make a personal sacrifice for the good of someone else. Furthermore, most of our real advances have come as the results of laws and legal action. Thus, whereas in Europe and the Middle East, kindness has come from societal values, we have tried to legislate and litigate it here. The other interesting side of this is Evan's reactions to these kindnesses vs. how we would react, based on our socialization here in the West. As a westerner who has heard nothing but messages of individualism, individualresponsibility, the need to be self reliant, and so forth, I would have a hard time not feeling patronized were I in Evan's shoes. However, I'm guessing that Evan is fine with his treatment--partly because it's what he's used to, but also partly because it fits in with how his society works. … Again, going back to some reading I did during my grad school days, I remember reading a book by a woman who lived in the Middle East. She spent the majority of her book describing the incredible amount of restrictions under which women live in the Middle East--no public or private interaction with non-familial men, arranged marriage, limited legal rights in society, and so forth. Yet, she pointed out that in her society, although her place was fixed and limited, her role was unique and revered. In one sense, she was imprisoned, but in another, she was an honored member of her society, and much more so than her female counterparts in the West. … In much the same way, I'm sure that there are elements of Evan's life which are limiting and smothering. Yet, he clearly has a role in his society, and he is respected and well treated, and there's something to be said for that. So I don't have the answer. In one sense, I think we should help Evan to advocate for more equality in his society, but at what cost? Should he trade the civility and hospitality he now receives for our Western-stylelack of care? Should he give up his free cuts in line for a sense of independence that is coupled with a cold-hearted society that doesn't really
care if he succeeds or not? ... These are tough questions, and I don't have the answers, but as I get older, I'm leaning toward Evan's way. Sure, taking a cut in line may not send a very positive message about the capabilities of blind people, but in the larger scheme of things, I think that I prefer the sincere kindness that accompanies the gestures of those who step back and give him their spot, and heck, sometimes, being blind is pretty hard and what's really wrong with admitting that anyway?

Ron Brooks Phoenix, AZ ACB-L list

**19. I think people usually offer help out of genuine kindness rather than fear of blindness. However the fear of blindness certainly exists especially on the part of employers. They're usually afraid of a blind
person not being able to pull her weight in the company. Not to mention having to go out of their way to make a job workable through adaptive equipment for the blind person. I don't accept being brought to the front of the line except at the airport. I do accept discounts however due to financial need.

Deb Chandler ACB-L listserv

**20. Wow, there are a lot of issues in this TP. I think there is only one time I went to work an hour late because of rain. It was bad thunder and lightening and really hard rain and I went in an hour late, but generally I just walk in the rain, no big deal. I feel that it's my responsibility to be on time. I don't need people to shut off my computer or help me to the bus stop or any of that and if I miss the bus that is too bad and my own fault. I do leave fifteen minutes early in the evening to catch the bus home. My employer does not have a problem with this. I think cutting in the line is weird. I generally will not do things like this unless, for example, with airport security where someone is assisting me and I don't want to waste their time.

Sarah G.

**21. This is an attempt to define the fine line between reasonable accommodations and special privileges for blind people. In these examples, the line isn't so fine. Why should a blind person be allowed to wait for the bus to work until the rain stops while his coworkers arrive wet and muddy, but on time? And what accommodation to blindness is cutting in line at the airport? Actually, I've been taken to the front of airport lines by security guards and bell hops. The accommodation was clearly for them, not for me as a blind person. After all, why should they waste their time waiting in line? In my last trip, the bell hop took me to the end of the line, then said that security would help me after I went through the screening. He didn't get a tip.

Vincent Abby ACB-L

**22. Can daily life be so simple for anyone let alone a blind person? Are people really so kind and considerate? Do the blind hold the status of rock stars? This has not been my experience.


**23. Having lived in Turkey several years ago, I know firsthand that customs and culture are different, whether for sighted or blind. Having lived also in other countries overseas, I can tell you that conditions of equality for the blind, even in Europe are more backward than they are here, as ignorant as our society seems at times. In the past, it's been true that in some European countries, the stipend that blind people can receive is greater than the monetary amount one can get in our country, yet expectations for the blind are much lower. Hopefully, these conditions are changing. I will say, however, that, if nothing else, the blind are respected as scholars in many countries, if they are even fortunate to obtaindfs an education in some third-world regions. I think it would be unfair to make any comparisons or judgments according to our life-style in this country, or standard of living, because, in most cases, there is no comparison. Even living in Europe is quite different from living in the U.S., and you never feel it or internalize it until you have gone through it.

Best wishes

Judy Jones

**24. this is not easy to break down. I always thank anyone who is courteous to me and take advantage of early boarding privileges, lower bus fares and use my gold pass when visiting national parks. Do I take such things for granted? NO, nor would I use my blindness to excuse myself from going to work on time if others did also. Yet at work, I don't hesitate to tell my supervisor when a task is going to take me longer or be something I will need assistance to perform, say checking case files to be sure all necessary documents are properly filed, present at all or need updating. However, I also often workover my lunch hour to make up for the extra time it takes to enter things in the data base, deliver things or meet with clients on my way home when I have access to a driver so as not to require that my employer absorb the costs of having one of our drivers be tied up providing me with transport when they are supposed to serve the agencies clients who need the lifts to board our buses and van. I can take the public bus instead, walk a bit and organize all of my visits at times when my family is available to drive. I wonder though if pity is one of the factors in this story. I don't feel as if I am an object of pity and would not be comfortable being treated as if I am less capable than I am. If there was a bus I could catch and still get home, I don't think I would expect to be allowed to leave early, unless I made the time up by coming in early. Assistance and accommodations aren't something I just expect, but I do appreciate them when they are offered. I do think though I should work harder to make up for any additional accommodations I am given. I want to carry my weight and be a contributing member of the team. If favors are given, I would feel obliged to return them in some way. I have a coworker who uses a power wheelchair. I have asked her to check a document that has come off the printer to be sure it is the one I sent to be printed and not someone else's document. But I also ask her if she needs assistance reaching things on shelves, or drop down to pick up things she has dropped for her or retrieve a shoe that she has lost. We joke about that by saying she has a Cinderella complex and likes to have people on their knees before her. I read a piece about a cab driver who drove blind people for free. I wouldn't have felt comfortable about that because he has to buy gas, maintain his car, and isn't earning money while he is driving blind people around. Since I have a sighted daughter and husband who drive for me, I often offer rides to blind friends especially if they can't manage the trip without the ride. I would offer gas money if I accepted a ride from someone though. I hope this makes some sense.

DeAnna Quietwater Noriega

**25. Well, this is an interesting one. Now that I am in Mexico and not the US, I feel guilty about one of those behaviors. I did not have the five necessary pesos to ride the bus, so I just went back to take a seat. Also, the buses here have fare boxes on the seats themselves so you pay at your seat. The other thing is that back in the US, we're still getting away from some of these. For one, we still sometimes let blind people through a line, though it's getting rarer by the day. Also, why did Emin get to miss work just because it rained? He'd be sitting on his butt for another reason in Mexico and the States.

Ben J. Bloomgren

**26. hmm very interesting! I have to say that I have once or twice played the blind card but it has only been in one off situations. for example, a work mate asked me if I would like her to stand with me while I waited for my buss, I said that this would be very nice if she had time to as she could tell me when the right buss came. this, I know is a bit lazy but I think if someone offers assistance its sometimes nice to take the easy option. However, as for not going out in the rain and leaving work early and jumping the cue? this kind of thinking, "make way for the blind" is damaging as it promotes the idea that blind people are less able can work less hours should be given special concessions as payment for their disability and should never be expected to go out in the rain.

Jayne Connor United Kingdum

**27. It seems like the blind in turkey are either treated with respect or grate pity I mean allowing them to board a buss without paying and allowing them to go to the front of the line wow. those are just my thoughts.

Mich Verrier from New Liskeard Ontario Canada

**28. Just because someone is blind doesn't mean that he should be able to get out of situations that people normally have to deal with such as going out in the rain, waiting in line for concert tickets and not going up to the front and the worst thing, leaving work early on a routine basis to catch the bus. I realize that neighborhoods could be dangerous especially if no one is around after work. But if a person is going to be catching the local bus, there should be other people walking to their cars and/or buses at the same time. There are always strings attached if you get something for nothing. opting out of situations because of blindness only perpetuates the stereotype that blind people should be treated differently and given perks when such is not the case.

Mary Jo Partyka, New Jersey

**29. On the surface, I suppose, Emin seems like this independent, self-sufficient blind person. He has a job, he uses public transportation, he goes out with friends to restaurants and concerts, he doesn't just stay isolated in his apartment. But scratch the surface and--well--. Why can't he go to work if it's raining? That's why we have umbrellas, and the last time I knew, rain wasn't a lethal problem. When I lived in New England and Ohio, with cold, snowy windy winters, I used to go to work in bad snow and wind storms, unless we had blizzard warnings and people were being urged to stay off the roads. And usually that was the kind of situation where the agency directors were planning to close the agency anyway due to the weather. And why does he have to have a friend shut down his computer at work? And why is it an accepted fact that he leaves a half hour early because he might miss his bus otherwise? I could see this if this were the last bus and his leaving with the rest of his coworkers meant he would have to take an expensive taxi cab home, but it sounds like there are buses that run long after his work day ends. And he and his friends don't pay a bus fare and get to go to the head of the line to get their tickets for the concert, in spite of the fact that some people might have been patiently waiting in line for a long time for their tickets? All of this is not good, of course, for a number of reasons. Regarding the work issues, a business has certain needs. Work needs to get done in a timely and accurate manner. When I was working with the IRS, our tax administration, it was essential that customer service representatives, blind or otherwise, be there on time, not 30 minutes late, or even 5 or 10 minutes late. Customers are calling, they are often waiting in a cue, they have busy days, they can't be kept waiting because somebody came in late or didn't come in because it was raining. The same goes for leaving early. What is also happening here is that the employer is getting the wrong message, that the blind person can't do the job as efficiently as other workers. Therefore, it is entirely possible that in the future, when some perfectly capable blind person applies for a position, that person may be passed over for a sighted person because, it the employer's mind, all kinds of exceptions may need to be made for that blind person. So, unfortunately, Emin is not only hurting himself, but the rest of the blind community as well. We don't have a responsibility to be perfect, we all have human frailties, strong and weak points, etc. But we do have a responsibility to do our best and to educate the "sighted" world, and this character, and his friends, apparently, are sending the wrong message all through this thought provoker. And yet, they would probably be full of resentment if you tried to point that out to them. And this brings me to my final point. And, in a way, this is the most tragic point. Emin and his two friends, along with the rest of the culture, seem to accept this behavior as perfectly appropriate. It doesn't seem to occur to Emin that he and his friends are not entitled to this special treatment, whether it's at work, not paying their fare on the bus, or being able to pass to the front of the concert line. This is likely to produce resentment in Emin's coworkers and people in general who know him, and rather than showing him true respect, he will be treated with contempt or, at the least, with pity. Now does this mean Emin shouldn't get accommodations at work? Of course not. If he needs a speech program in his computer, than some way should be found of getting that for him. If he needs a little mobility at first to help him learn his way around the office, he should get that. There may even be marginal aspects of the job he simply cannot do because of the need for sight. But most of these accommodations should be made in order to make it easier to get the job done effectively, not so he can have extra advantages his coworkers don't have. So there you have it, and let there be no doubt about how I view these issues.

Mark Tardif

**30. I took some time to get to this thought provoker, so my apologies. In Israel it's much the same. The bus drivers will not let blind people pay. They are given front row seats, and if others are in these seats, they hasten to get out of them. There are security checkpoints at the malls and bus stations, and train depots which simply pass the blind people and their companions through. The beggars are embarrassed to take money from the blind, and try to give it back. But there are no really good jobs for the blind, who are shunted to jobs that are far beneath them. I guess you can't have it both ways.

Lori Stayer

**31. If I had a supervisor who didn't mind if I came in late for work but made up for it by working later that day, I certainly would take that opportunity.
Of course, I would still try to make it to work on time as much as possible. As for Emin and his friends not paying their bus fare and being able to go
to the front of the line at people's encouragement. I believe that they should be made to pay their fare like everyone else. I also believe that they
should have to stand at the end of the line like those before them did. However, if an overwhelming majority of people move out of their way and encourage
me to step to the front of the line ahead of everyone else, then I'll oblige. For one thing, it's a nice gesture for them to do that. My feeling is that
the people in line didn't have to be as nice as they were. Lord knows that there are a lot of very rude people who could care less whether or
not you're blind. I've had cashiers literally throw my change at me instead of counting it out for me even after I've told them that they need to count
out the bill denominations into my hand so that I can fold them appropriately. So, when people offer to give me their seat or place in line, it is a blessing
and outweighs the rude people I encounter.


**32. Guess what? True story. In 1968, after successfully completing a trade school , E.C.P.I. ( electronic computer programming Institute ), I started With a retail store outlet named Brandies. It was an entry level computer position that balanced the receivables. An idea came to me, whereas a process was developed to shorten the run time by an hour each day and the ability to balanced the days receivables to the penny. With that I asked for a dollar an hour raised. A nickel an hour was quite common in those day's. I received a quarter an hour. I also was able to leave at one o'clock each day to go to the horse races and returned to work early each evening to finish my day's work. That was also never heard of in those days. My point here is, preferential treatment is not always due one's disability or handicap. So, if one is able to muster such privileges, than do so, whether your disable or not, is ok.

Moving ahead with an invitation is perfectly ok in my line of thinking. What is important, is, your attitude is when it's not received and how and when you choose to expect preferential treatment. Rank has always had it's privileges, that's part of the motivation of getting ahead on the work force. Privileges far out weigh the monetary rewards. So blindness isn't the real issue. Respect and politeness and courteous, helping your fellow man, is the Importance in this world. Ahem, I forgot to include women kind.

Jack E. Mindrup

**33. It's very interesting that Emin did not have to go to work due to the rainy weather. When I worked as a receptionist at a local nonprofit organization here
in the States, I had to report to work even when it was raining outside. You know, I kind of like doing that anyway. There's just something very comforting
about rainy days. The only times I missed work were either when I was not feeling well or when the office was closed for whatever reason. These times were
far and few though. Once I even went to work when it started hailing. My supervisor at the time went outside and brought in a piece of hail and put it
in my hand. It was a bit smaller than a golf ball. That was a really neat experience for me, actually getting to touch hail. I haven't been at my new job
long enough to know what to do in bad weather. The office where I work is within walking distance of my apartment building, and thus far the weather has
cooperated. The laundry machines in my building are located downstairs in the community room, and even in bad weather it's not such a big deal to transport
my laundry back and forth. Our walkways are pretty well shoveled of snow, or at least they have been so far. One aspect of doing my laundry that I find
kind of cumbersome, though, is walking in or out of the back way with a load of clothes. This is due to a rather oddly structured entry point with two
of the doors literally back to back. One opens out and the other opens in. But I've gotten used to this. Sometimes I just go out my front door, down the
stairs, and out the front door of my building and around back through a gate to the community room. Regarding preferential treatment of people with any
type of disability, I think it depends on the situation. I've been in situations a couple of times where people told me I didn't have to pay due to my
blindness. I'd do strongly take issue with those people who say we shouldn't have to pay. For one thing, these drivers, servers, etc., have to make
a living for themselves and if we don't pay they can't survive that easily. Also, why should we who are blind or visually-impaired be treated any differently
than others when it comes to paying our way? I've been to a few places where those with disabilities are permitted to go to the front of the line. When
my family and I were at the airport in Honolulu about to return home to Chicago, I was allowed to go to the front of the line. This was also true of two siblings who are visually-impaired. I do think, however, that we should at times accept favors because there are a lot of people in this world who scare and want to help us out. Finally, I'd like to say something about buses. I was at one time an ADA paratransit rider, and I found the service very unreliable. I think the service should be renamed ADA parastrandit, because that is what it does to those who use it. I've talked with friends who are currently paratransit riders and who feel as I do. I have a longtime friend who has cerebral palsy and uses paratransit to get to and from work. He works in the mail room of Kraft Foods and has done that same job for several years. He is often late to work, but he has told me that his supervisor and coworkers are very nice about it. That is how it should be for all of us, because we don't always have control over our paratransit rides. That is, of course, unless we oversleep or for whatever reason are no-shows. Then we should be forced to pay the price of being late to class, work or wherever we're going that day. When I was enrolled in a program at the Chicago Lighthouse for the Blind, I was often late. There was one time, for instance, when I was a couple hours late and I got yelled at by people in charge of the program. The reasons I was given for being late that day were that the other passenger overslept and our friendly driver got terribly lost. Not to mention there was a foul odor in the bus and I wanted to vacate as soon as possible. I made a point of calling into the Lighthouse every morning, even on those rare occasions when my ride did show up on time. I also set my alarm and purposely never overslept. I've also had to cut classes early because of paratransit, and I've been late in the mornings getting to class. I have assured myself and others that I will not use paratransit again, unless the system is fixed.

Jake Joehl

**34. I really wasn't sure whether or not I was going to comment on this Thought Provoker. When I first read it I didn't have anything to say because I don't know too much about Middle Eastern cultures. After rereading the TP and reading the comments posted so far, I have reconsidered. My first thought is that Emin is pretty lucky. He gets to go into work late when it rains. He gets to leave early to make sure he catches his bus on time. He doesn't have to pay bus fare, and people seem really nice to him and his friends. Now I've taken the comments under consideration and....I still think Emin is lucky. Hear me out on this. He lives in a culture where having a disability or being old gives a person a special status. That means that it is built into their culture that they are supposed to take care of these people. It was argued that this could make blind people feel like second class citizens. Don't you think that all the homeless veterans in America feel like second class citizens? If you were an American veteran, where would you rather be treated like a second class citizen: here on the streets; or in Turkey where they let you come in late for work, ride the bus for free, or cut in line? Now I'm not saying it's all great. Having your coworkers hover over you could be annoying.And there could be resentment at work or on the street. In Emin's defense, though, he was very polite and he and his friends' accommodations didn't seem to bother anyone. I wouldn't come into work late just because of rain, because I can't. If I could it might be a different story. But we don't know the specifics of the situation. Maybe his neighborhood was difficult to navigate in the rain. Maybe he and boss agreed that he could come in late on rainy days. It sounds that they had already agreed that he could leave early to catch his bus. Again, maybe waiting that extra half an hour after work would put him in a difficult position.He put a great deal of thought into planning his time, so I suspect that he gets his work done in a timely manner, whether he comes in on time and leaves early or not. The exchange with his coworker sounded like she was just concerned that he had lost track of time, nothing demeaning or patronizing about that. As for the bus fare: in Tallahassee anyone who has a college ID can ride the bus for free just by showing the card. Does that make them less independent? Do you really think sighted people like paying bus fares? If they didn't have to pay them they wouldn't complain. And what about the taxi driver who didn't charge blind people? God bless him. He's racking up the karma points. It's his choice to do that. It probably makes him feel good to help someone else. It all boils down to this: if a sighted person was offered the same accommodations as Emin, would he accept or refuse?


**35. After listening to mid update of thought number 126. Thought different
country have different way . We American expect to be treat as America
anywhere we go. What may be acceptable in one country may not be case in
other country.

I see that many feel from there comment that accept help made them feel
less than a person. There is a right and wrong way to accept help.

Do I want to accept the help or not accept it. Accept help to be lazy it is
acceptable way.

But to make the other day is good.

There is things that I do certain ways because then I know they are done
correctly. But there is a good way to accept and not to accept the help. That is hard part of living this lesson of good manner.

Sometime as blind person we forget our good manner because are blind.

Today in AAMERICA we more and more feel we are right and other person is

Learning good manner for blindness is very important for sight people
realize we are just like them except for our blindness.

Being blind make someone day every day and sight will be more acceptable to