After losing his sight back in 2012, London resident Amit Patel has since been relying on his guide dog Kika to navigate the city. During his daily commute, however, the former accident and emergency (A&E) doctor experiences constant discrimination from fellow Londoners.
— Kika (@Kika_GuideDog) September 18, 2016
Frustrated that he could not see the daily abuse he receives from some of the commuters he meets on the way, he decided to strap a GoPro camera to Kika to record everything, Mashable reported.
— Kika (@Kika_GuideDog) August 8, 2016
“People barged me out of the way, Kika got abused, hit with umbrellas, bags,” the 37-year-old was quoted as saying.
His wife Seema then reviews the video to check if the hitting he gets were deliberate. To raise awareness about such acts, she shares the footage and images on Kika’s Twitter account after just some minor editing.
— Kika (@Kika_GuideDog) September 22, 2016
According to Patel, he experiences no untoward incidents 99% of the time, stating that he usually meets nice people on the street. He is also thankful for the helpfulness of the Transport for London (TfL) employees who are always happy to provide assistance when necessary. It’s just the 1% who Patel says were “rude and arrogant” that bugs him.
“People distract her (Kika), get in the way, try to be funny or bump her,” he told Mashable. “Some parents don’t care and have their children screaming at the dog or petting it, so I have to kindly tell them she’s working and ask if they can wait until we get on the train.”
Patel, who became blind due to Keratoconus, a condition which deforms the cornea, shared an incident wherein a woman who got upset as he and his guide dog was holding everyone up on the escalator:
“I was with my 2-month old baby on my chest, the dog on the left side blocking the escalator. A lady came running behind us. 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,” he narrated.
Being well behaved as my little bro holds my lead 😀🙈 pic.twitter.com/Yv2ckLBcDg
— Kika (@Kika_GuideDog) December 17, 2016
During a separate incident on a bus, another lady berated Patel and screamed for 20 minutes that should get off since his guide dog might have rabies.
“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.”