A take of two blind pax.

ZenUber

Well-Known Member
I dropped a kid off at a college in the city. There were lots of kids walking around like classes had just let out, so I figured I'd stick around and see if I could get a rematch. Sure enough, I got a ping in a couple minutes. I was close enough to the pin that I didn't even have to move the car. Timer starts, and about a minute later the phone rings. Pax is asking me were I'm at. I tell him I'm on the pin he placed, not that that information ever does any good. I tell him I'm right before the flashing yellow lights for the crosswalk. He asks me what building I'm at. I don't see any names on the buildings, but one of them has a big yellow banner, which I describe too him and I read off what it says. There are way too many kids walking around for me to spot him. So then he asks if I could beep my horn. I'm thinking, everybody's going to be looking at me if I beep. It may even provoke some bird flipping. But I get it, it's a good idea in this situation. So I beep. A couple people turn to look. The pax asks, could I beep once more? Now, there aren't too many other cars around, so I'm thinking, How hard could this be?

Just then I see a couple guys leaning in towards the car in front of me, like they are questioning the driver, if he is their Uber? And then I notice they both have long walking sticks. They are both blind - and suddenly I can see! I start pulsing on my horn to provide them an audible beacon to follow. Once they hear me, they start leaning my way, looking off in odd directs like two confused birds, stumbling over each other to find me.

They come to my car and I confirm the names (duh), and they get in. I apologize cause I didn't realize, but they act like it was a non issue. In fact, they don't seem to acknowledge their own blindness, at least not verbally. And apparently they get no help from the school. It's just the two of them against the world, and the city of Philadelphia. They are a team, and best Buds. During the ride they talk about their plans for the week and how to execute them. The one guy starts sending texts on his phone, giving voice commands in response to a voice on his phone. I asked him how he was able to order and uber, and was his a special phone. He said it was a standard iPhone 8, but he had a voice command app for navigating the phone.

So, this phone actually spoke to him, and then he gave (enter, up, down, left, right) responses on the touch screen. And that's how he was able to order an uber. He started dictating text messages and sending them out. His phone talked in a very fast voice - like the voice at the end of some TV commercials that read off the fine print disclaimer, super fast. The voice on his phone was a blur, and he was responding to it equally fast. It was a cacophony of fast words and button clicks. Difficult to describe it, but it was impressive. I asked him a few questions about it, but he seemed more interested in going about his business of text messages and talking with his friend. I think he was purposely ignoring any direct reference to blindness, I'm guessing in an effort to lead as normal a life as possible.

There was a lot of traffic in the city and our progress was slow. Along the way they estimated what street we were on, and what landmarks we were going by. I made the mistake of correcting them at one point. They were several blocks off in their estimate, and I thought they might appreciate knowing exactly where we were. But they ignored me, and continued on to another conversation among themselves. It wasn't until after the ride that I realized they didn't want to be treated any differently than anybody else. When they initially called me, he never mentioned that they were blind, or if I could come and find them. They were completely independent, going about their college lives in the big city. Best friends. Impressive, and inspirational - on so many levels.
 

Invisible

Well-Known Member
Great story! You’re right, the blind pax don’t want to be treated differently. I’ve had some with service dogs and some with canes, and they impress me with their positive attitudes.
 

Christinebitg

Well-Known Member
I think the only thing they could have (and should have!) done differently is to inform you that they're sight impaired. I mean during that initial phone contact, before they found you.

Otherwise, you were left wondering why they couldn't see you. Beeping the horn would have been strange for me too, since there is a default assumption that they have normal abilities, until they let you know otherwise.

Once I know people need extra assistance, I'll go out of my way for them. But I get that there are [email protected]@holes out there who would have cancelled at that point.

I'm intentionally not making this into a political point, although I have definite opinions in that regard.
 

BigRedDriver

Well-Known Member
We have many blind folks in my town. I’ve picked up dozens. Some of my best pax were blind. (Bad tippers though).

I’ve told many of my admiration of them. They really are some of the best people I’ve come in contact with.
 

MHR

Well-Known Member
Moderator
We have many blind folks in my town. I’ve picked up dozens. Some of my best pax were blind. (Bad tippers though).

I’ve told many of my admiration of them. They really are some of the best people I’ve come in contact with.
At last check the tipping and rating portion of the app are not accessible by screen readers.

Until I became a driver I never knew those screens existed. We've always used the blind one's account when traveling and his screen is always dark.
 

theMezz

Well-Known Member
Same with me. I get blind persons often - we have a place here where all employees are blind. They are awesome and yeah - pretty amazing how they can navigate their phones. Faster than I can. iPhones provide them much freedom
 

ZenUber

Well-Known Member
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  • #7
Same with me. I get blind persons often - we have a place here where all employees are blind. They are awesome and yeah - pretty amazing how they can navigate their phones. Faster than I can. iPhones provide them much freedom
Yes, it’s great that they can take advantage of the technology like the test of us.
 

TXUbering

Well-Known Member
Don't you mean "Tale"? What did you get the blind person to type up the title for you? :p



I always find it amazing when someone perseveres despite any physical limitations they may have. I've picked up one or two blind people and they always seem more well adjusted than even some of my pax with all their "senses". One of my riders, I felt a little bad for as I was picking her up around dusk, and the sunset on beautiful display. I came so close to commenting about it, but thought to myself, "do I really want to describe something that this person will never be able to experience?" I figured it best for me to just appreciate what I have, and make myself completely available to whatever help my pax needed for that ride.
 
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Benjamin M

Well-Known Member
Don't you mean "Tale"? What did you get the blind person to type up the title for you? :p
Referencing my thread, I think..
 

Benjamin M

Well-Known Member
I don't think I've ever had a fully blind pax. I did have an old man who didn't see very well.
I've had three. Two separate pax in the same day.

The first was the most memorable. Not only did I get out to help him into my car but I also checked his groceries for him - curbside pick up. What he couldn't choose for himself in the store, he ordered online (primarily meat and produce). Fortunately, he was buddies with most of the staff, so he trusted them.

One of those rides when I just felt like I was hanging out with a friend. Great conversation and it was interesting to learn how he went about his day - social, shopping, and work.
 

percy_ardmore

Well-Known Member
Went to Olive Garden, see a young couple in front, both have canes, yes, blind or nearly so. Very pleasant couple asking me about Uber, took them to their apt. Then I absent-mindedly said, which one is your apt? He said, I don't know, are we here? Felt pretty dumb after that.
 

ZenUber

Well-Known Member
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #15
It sounds like blind people are just as tired of sighted peoples dumb comments, as uber drivers are of dumb pax comments. So they come up with snide responses. And I'm sure they all talk about it and complain to each other, just as we do here.
 
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