Guide dog camera captures moment angry commuter confronts blind man on tube escalator

'Just let go of the handrail and I can pass'

Rachel Hosie
Friday 09 February 2018 12:11
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Blind man asked to move on tube escalator by impatient commuter

A blind man used the camera on his guide dog to capture the moment a commuter ordered him to move on an escalator in a tube station.

Amit Patel, a 37-year-old former doctor who became blind five years ago due to a haemorrhage behind his eyes, was standing on an escalator going down to the tube in London Bridge station on Tuesday.

He was travelling with his guide dog, Kika, who stood to Patel’s left on the escalator, when an angry commuter confronted him.

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“Can you move to the right please?” the commuter asks from behind Patel, Kika his dog, and a Transport for London (TFL) employee.

When the TFL staff member asks the commuter to wait, he says: “I want to get past.”

Patel politely replies: “I can’t do that, I’m sorry - she’s a guide dog.”

And the TFL employee adds: “How do you expect him to get down? He needs to hold on.”

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But the commuter continues, saying: “No, no, just let go of the handrail and I can pass.”

The TFL staff member politely explains that Patel needs to hold on to the handrail, and it’s just a case of being “a little considerate.”

“Sorry,” Patel says, although as many people have pointed out, it’s not him who had any reason to apologise.

When the angry commuter goes on to say he didn’t think he was being inconsiderate, a fellow traveller chimes in to say: “You were being very inconsiderate.”

Patel describes the man as well dressed and in his late 40s. “I think he expected me to move, but I held my ground,” he told the Standard.

The former doctor explained that Kika is trained not to move on escalators.

But the incident was understandably distressing for Patel. “Moments like this are destroying, it really knocks my confidence,” he said. “I will dwell on it all day, it just makes me think is society really like that?... It makes me feel like a little boy again.”

As a blind man, Patel says he dreads escalators because of the fear of falling, but when Kika is confident, it helps him to be too.

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Encountering negative experiences on public transport two to three times a week, Patel hopes to raise awareness about travelling as a blind person with his Twitter account in Kika’s name.

He originally fitted Kika with a camera to highlight the discrimination he faces but also to try and work out why she sometimes became distressed.

After the clip from the escalator was posted, viewers have reacted with shock and outrage.

The video currently has 322,000 views, with many congratulating the TFL staff member on how he acted.

Patel now works as a volunteer with guide dogs for the Royal Institute of the Blind.

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