An episodically blind woman was harassed by a stranger while on the bus because of her guide dog. The stranger alleged that her guide dog could not be genuine because he is black.
Those who are blind often rely on a number of disability aids to help them get by and live their daily lives. For some, that aid comes in the form of a guide dog, trained to protect them and keep them safe.
Most laws allow for the use of service dogs and guide dogs in all locations, as to deny users this would be to deny them any accessibility. But there’s plenty of ignorance in the world that shows we have a long way to go in understanding ableism.
“Why is there a f***ing dog on the bus? Get it off.”
Megan Taylor is a woman from England who has a neurological condition and a heart condition to boot. She began experiencing episodic blindness following a severe head injury that occurred when she was 15. She is 22 years old and uses a black Labrador as her guide dog in her day-to-day life.
One fine Monday, Taylor was just going about her business and boarded a bus in Merseyside to get to her desired destination, as anyone would do. But her peaceful commute was interrupted by a complete stranger on the bus who felt the need to speak up against her instead of minding her own business.
The woman immediately swore at Taylor when she saw the dog, asking why he was there and demanding the dog was taken off the bus. Taylor tried to tell her that her pup was a necessary guide dog, and was shocked when the woman in question called her a liar. The woman went on to state that guide dogs can only be yellow Labradors, and Taylor’s dog was black, meaning he could not be a guide dog.
Taylor attempted to educate the woman on these incorrect statements. She explained that assistance pups can be any breed and any color, not just yellow Labradors. But the woman insisted that Taylor was wrong and lying, despite presumably not having any experience with service dogs herself.
Taylor realized it was a bit of a lost cause at this point. All she wanted was to go about her day, but instead, she was allegedly verbally harassed by a complete stranger with no knowledge about guide dogs at all. The woman continued to yell at her and shoot nonsense at her and Taylor decided to ignore her as she kept running her mouth. Imagine being so full of yourself that even when others decide you’re not worth talking to, you continue to barge in and intrude on their innocent lives that have nothing to do with you!
Taylor’s guide dog, who is named Rowley, is trained to be extremely helpful. He guides her, helps her perform daily tasks, and is capable of phoning emergency help of Taylor loses consciousness or experiences a fainting episode.
Unfortunately, Taylor is fairly used to being treated poorly and judged because of her disabilities. Often, when she faints, she will be stepped over, shoved aside, or even spat at by people who think she’s a drunk youth – even though the loss of consciousness she experiences is from a neurological disorder and some heart issues.
The good news is that Taylor hasn’t lost her faith in people! She does her best to stay positive and doesn’t allow negative instances to bring her down. She says that she understands it’s a loud minority that does these things, and that most people are good and kind at heart.
Finally, Taylor says proudly that she is not ashamed of her disability whatsoever. Her self-love is something many of us would look up to. Here’s hoping that the world overcomes some of its ableism and learns to stop judging everyone they see on sight. People like Taylor – and everyone else – deserve to live their lives without being harassed for things they can’t control!