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There’s Entitlement, There’s Childishness, And Then There’s This Lady

, , , , , , | Right | CREDIT: Leckzsluthor | June 17, 2022

I’m blind. Grocery shopping is a more involved process for a blind person; I have to ask a staff member to assist me. I also have my guide dog, Gumbo, inside with me. The dog in itself increases the instances of bad experiences.

Now, during my shopping, I always get a wide array of reactions to my dog. But one in particular occurred toward the end of my shopping. I heard loud footsteps, followed by the loud screech of, “That doggy is so cute! Can I pet him?!”

It was obviously a small child by the voice, so I prepared myself before responding that no, my dog could not be touched due to him being a guide dog. Surprisingly, the child didn’t act entitled but seemed surprised and excited about a dog having a job. She asked me a few questions and then left. I thought nothing of it and continued with my shopping.

After I finished, I decided to stop by the food court on the way out for some lunch. I went and made my way across the supermarket. I ordered my food, sat down, and waited. But by some cosmic gracing of bad luck, that is the exact moment that this child and her parent decided to walk close by.

I heard the child tell her mother about what I told her — about how my dog is working as a guide dog, that I’m blind and use him to get around, etc. The mother wasn’t really saying anything but I could sort of tell by her tone and the few words she did say that she was seeing some issue with what her daughter was told. After the daughter finished her babbling, the mother came up to me.

Now, as I said, people coming up to me is super common. I thought nothing much of it. However, the first words out of her mouth were:

Woman: “Why did you tell my daughter you’re blind?”

Her tone was very harsh, very accusatory. I immediately knew what was coming but, as usual, I put on a smile.

Me: “Because I am blind. Your daughter asked me about my dog, so I explained what guide dogs are and why we use them.”

Woman: “You’re not blind.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

The straight-shooting words caught me off guard.

Woman: “You’re not blind. My cousin is blind, so I know what a blind person is like. You shouldn’t lie about that. I think you should let my daughter pet the dog; she likes dogs. It’s pretty b****y to refuse a child something like that.”

My hackles rose slightly.

Me: “Well, ma’am, not all blind people are the same. Just because you know a single blind person, that doesn’t mean you know how all blind people are. And as I already explained, your daughter can’t pet my dog due to him being a seeing-eye dog.”

Woman: “Why are you lying? Your eyes are completely fine. You’re using a phone! Don’t say you’re blind if you’re gonna show you’re not at the same time! Why would you lie about this?”

Me: “Excuse me, but I am not lying. My eyes looking ‘fine’ have nothing to do with anything. Not every blind person’s eyes look the same. Look, you’re stressing me out. I’d rather you just left me alone.”

Woman: “My daughter wants to pet your dog! She’s been well behaved all through today and it’s more than reasonable to let her pet the dog!”

Me: “I said no. I don’t know why you can’t just accept my answer.”

Woman: “You said no using that bulls*** excuse! You’re honestly starting to piss me off. I don’t know who you think you are, but I happen to work for [I can’t actually remember where she said] And if you don’t stop it, I’ll get security to throw you and your fake guide dog out of here!”

I’m sure you get the picture. This went on for a good five minutes of her getting progressively angrier and angrier at the fact I wouldn’t let her daughter pet my dog. The daughter was actually silent through the whole thing. I don’t really think she even cared that much. The woman, however, was another story.

Eventually, she screamed out:

Woman: “That’s it! I’m going to get security! If you’re smart, you’ll be gone by the time I get back, or you’ll regret it!”

I snorted at her small fit and heard her huff and storm off. By that time, my food had arrived, so I started eating. I didn’t really believe she’d go to get security, but with some entitled people, you cannot be sure.

About five minutes or so went by of me eating. I was enjoying my fries, browsing on my phone in bliss. But of course, the woman returned. I heard her stupid stomping from like fifteen feet away. And she was raging on to an apparent security guard.

Woman: “Look! That’s her! You see? She’s sitting there with a dog! She says it’s a guide dog but she’s not blind! You have to kick her out; dogs aren’t allowed!”

I sighed and prepared for the incoming ordeal. A deep male voice sounded from a few feet in front of me. He sounded rather harassed.

Security Guard #1: “Uh, miss, is this a service dog?”

Me: “Yes, it is. He is a seeing-eye dog. I am allowed to take him in here. I have a copy of the appropriate law if you need it?”

Security Guard #1: “No, that’s fine. I know service dogs are allowed. This woman is saying you aren’t disabled, though. Is that true?”

Me: “No. She’s just angry that I didn’t let her daughter touch my dog. I honestly don’t know why she cares.”

Woman: “Because you’re a liar! I told you, I have a blind cousin! Don’t try to tell me I don’t understand blind people because I do!”

I directed my attention to the security guard.

Me: “I’ve tried to explain to her that one blind person doesn’t represent all blind people, but she doesn’t seem to get it. Could you please ask her to leave me alone? I just wanna eat in peace.”

Security Guard #1: “So, you are blind?”

Me: “Yes, I am.”

Security Guard #1: “Can you prove it in any way?”

Me: “Uh, no, how could I do that? And why?”

Security Guard #1: “Well, it’s just that she is saying one thing, and you’re saying another thing. I don’t exactly know who to believe. But yeah, I see how proving you’re blind doesn’t really work.” *To the woman* “Why is it exactly that you think she’s lying?”

Woman: “Are you serious? Are you thick? Look at her eyes! They’re not white or cloudy like blind people’s are. She’s literally looking at a f****** phone!”

Security Guard #1: *To me* “Uh, what’s your response?”

Me: *Sigh* “Maybe her cousin has those eye symptoms, but not every blind person does. Those symptoms are caused by diseases like cataracts, which I don’t have. As for the phone, devices have been accessible to the blind for years. I find it surprising she has a cousin who is blind and doesn’t know that.”

Woman: “No, I saw you look at the phone! You were looking at it!”

Me: “I have basic light perception. I can detect light. I direct my eyes to it out of habit because that’s where my hands are occupied. Look, it’s not my job to educate you on what you don’t know.” *To the guard* “Please, please just ask her to leave me alone. I don’t care if she doesn’t believe me. You don’t need to stand here and mediate a back and forth as if we’re going to agree. I’d just like her to stop talking to me and leave me in peace. I’m feeling extremely harassed.”

Security Guard #1: “Yeah, I get that. It’s just that… I can’t know for sure if you’re blind, so she might have a valid point.”

Me: “What? That applies to every blind person. How can anyone prove that? If she has no reasons for me lying, then shouldn’t you just give me the benefit of the doubt?”

Security Guard #1: “I don’t know… She said her cousin is blind; she probably knows something about it.”

Me: *Pauses* “Wow. I’m not even going to bother. Look, if you’re not going to get her away from me, then I’m just going to leave. Thanks for failing to protect a disabled patron.”

I stood up to leave, my dog getting up to guide me. I took a few steps and suddenly felt someone grab hold of my harness handle tightly and pull me to a stop.

Woman: “Wait! I said I wanted you to let my daughter pet the dog. Then, you can leave.”

Me: “NO! GET OFF MY HARNESS! GET OFF!”

Now, understand, grabbing my harness is akin to someone taking away your eyes. She was impeding my means of navigating. So I panicked. This has only happened to me once before, and I panicked then, too. I attempted to pull my harness handle back, all the while screaming, “GET OFF! LET GO! HELP!”

She was screaming in my ear about… actually, I wasn’t exactly listening as I was too busy screaming, but I assume it had something to do with her daughter. The security guard was fumbling around fairly uselessly.

Eventually, another security guard hurried over. I heard him bark out:

Security Guard #2: “What’s going on?!”

Me: “SHE’S TAKING MY GUIDE DOG! HELP ME! SHE WON’T LET GO!”

Woman: “No! She’s supposed to let my daughter pet her dog! He said so!”

I assume she pointed to the first guard. He didn’t respond, but the way the conversation went, it seemed like he non-verbally indicated that he hadn’t said that.

Security Guard #2: “Miss, let go of the lady’s dog, right now, or I’ll escort you out.”

Woman: “No! She’s not blind! The dog isn’t real! Don’t just jump in and assume you know what’s going on!”

I had calmed slightly, so I could speak in a more coherent manner.

Me: “Please just get her off of me. I want to leave. I don’t feel safe. Let me leave!”

Security Guard #2: “Hey, you’re all right, miss. Everything’s gonna be fine.”

I then felt the woman’s hand being forcibly removed from the harness handle. As soon as I was free, I immediately commanded Gumbo to lead me to the exit. We walked quickly. I heard the woman screeching loudly behind me and a guard shouting, “Calm down! Just stop screaming!”

I was still somewhat panicked, but I was able to calm myself down as I hurried toward the exit. It was so chaotic that I very nearly forgot my shopping where I’d left it at customer services.

I left, called a taxi, and went home. It has really stuck with me for the last couple of days. But the worst part is that these types of interactions are an almost daily occurrence. Blind people are the targets of constant harassment in public. This woman just went further by physically assaulting me.

I know I could have, and should have, gotten her arrested. But honestly, I was just so panicked, I wanted out of the situation ASAP.

And I didn’t even get to finish my fries.

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