“I no want!”
That was what the taxi driver had exclaimed as Ms Cassandra Chiu had knocked on the taxi door to get a ride home.
She was being guided by her guide dog Esme.
It was after a 15-hour day at work and Ms Chiu wanted to go home and take a rest.
Ms Chiu “tried explaining to the taxi driver that she is “blind” and that (Esme) was her “guide dog”.”
She also “offered to show the driver the GDAB (Guide Dogs Association of the Blind) Guide Dog Team Identification Card, supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.”
But the taxi driver would not have any of that.
“My eye pain, I want go home,” he pleaded.
And with that, he took off, leaving Ms Chiu lying on the “on the floor in a heap”.
This is the post on the Esme’s Facebook Page, as Cassandra recounted the incident:
“This guide dog is morosely laying here with my head on my paws thinking about yesterday’s taxi incident feeling artily dejected and forlorn of all hope.
After a very intense 15 hour day at work, Mama and I just wanted to get home to bed and family as soon as possible. At about 8:20pm, I guided Mama to the taxi stand at Tanglin Shopping Centre where Mama’s office is. There was nobody there at that time of the evening but there was nothing to fear as Mama always proudly says Singapore is the safest city to live in!
A few taxies drove by the taxi stand drive way but did not stop accept for this one which politely told Mama that he was waiting for his passenger. Before too long, another taxi drove up and alighted 2 passengers, the man that got out of the taxi first asked Mama and I to hold on whilst his friend paid the taxi driver. He was very kind and even told us that it’s all clear for Mama and I to board now.
Upon Mama’s instructions, I guided Mama to the taxi door, but it would not open, Mama knocked on the door and the driver said: “I no want!”. Mama tried explaining to the taxi driver that she is “blind” and that I was her “guide dog” and even offered to show the driver the GDAB Guide Dog Team Identification Card, supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development. The driver said: ” My eye pain, I want go home”…
Whilst this rather comical conversation went on, with me between the taxi and Mama, the taxi started driving off!
The taxi driver’s door opened and everything happened in a flash! The next thing I knew, Mama was on the floor in a heap and the taxi was speeding off! All that was left of the taxi door where my nose was pointing to just a moment ago was the smell of the taxi’s exhaust! A kind gentleman came to help Mama off the road and he turned out to be the earlier taxi driver who was waiting for his passenger. He saw the incident but only noticed that it was a ComfortDelgro taxi but not the licence plate number. He offered to help Mama call for a taxi but only the 3rd taxi on call that arrived was willing to take Mama and me! The first 2 must be turned off by all the blood on Mama’s legs! Or was it me?
As they say, the rest is history. We sat in a daze on the taxi all the way home only to realise that there was blood flowing in rivulets down Mama’s legs. We called for another taxi and I guided Mama to the SGH where over the next few hours they cleaned up Mama’s wounds and x-rayed to check for any broken bones. We did not get home till well over 2AM this morning.
Mama was so concerned that I was hurt and I was so glad to see my Primary Vet Dr FC show up at the A&E! I had so much to tell him…….. The human doctor at the A&E even offered my Vet a medical kit to check me out. How sweet was that? My beloved Dr checked out every inch of this guide dog and worriedly said: “Lucky you are all right. Esme…. Esme….. you could very easily had been killed or seriously hurt!”
Well whilst there may be many sardonic comments and thoughts about what transpired yesterday, this guide dog assures you that its nothing compared to the realisation that my Mama’s and my life is so dismal, worthless, disregarded and could had been easily smashed into road kill without consideration!
What’s the difference between 1 wheel of a taxi rolling over us or a taxi knocking us to the ground? When in both scenarios Mama and I could easily had been killed? Yes we are both still alive today but what kind of a life? One that does not deserve the rudimentary humanity typically accorded to fellow inhabitants of this world?
A few months ago Mama broke her ribs when a taxi tried to drive off. Over the years Mama and I had also been manhandled, shouted at, and unceremoniously ushered out of public places. What happened yesterday was not an isolated incident. It’s not like Mama is asking for charity such as a free ride or meal at an eatery. She is just trying to lead as normal a life as possible with her blindness, going to work, paying her bills and taxes and buying food and transport.
It’s beyond raising more “awareness on guide dogs”, over the years there has been so much media coverage and public awareness through different channels. Even a 70+ years old cobbler who is always stationed at Bukit Batok Central knows about guide dogs.
It’s time for “decisions” if we are ready to “accept” our fellow inhabitants of this world who happen to be blind and use a guide dog as a mobility aid, and who leads an active productive life.
So ironic when instead of keeping Mama safe, I am causing her to be treated without dignity and causing dangerous things to happen to her.
Mama I hate to say this, but it pains my heart to see this despicable treatment of you so often and all of it caused by me. Maybe I had out staid my welcome here and I should go back to where I came from. And like many of the people out there suggests, you should get a maid to take you around instead, or not be independent, not be mobile, and not lead your life to the fullest.
What to do? What to do? What to do?………”