More Dumb Lifts Across The Pond

It is always interesting to get feedback on the blogs I write. The wonderful thing about the internet is that this feedback can come from thousands of miles away. I was fascinated to learn from Dan Weiner that we are not alone in suffering the problem of Dumb Lifts in the UK. Dan is a guide dog user From the USA who contacted me to share his experiences.

To recap there is a problem Blind People experience where there are banks of 2 or more lifts. It is not at all easy to tell which lift has opened its doors and you can play mad musical lifts dashing from one to another trying to feel the open door before the lift closes. I argued in my last post that all our lives could be made much easier if lifts were that little bit smarter, and announced not just that they had arrived but which lift had arrived, for example Lift 3, Doors opening.

Dan lives in Florida, and at the time he describes he was working on a very big Military Base in Maryland. With his permission I have copied his account here. Dan takes up the story.

“David a very nicely written blog. I’ll address the issue of lifts, or as we here like to say elevators–smile. I can only hear in one ear and I’m not good at sound localization, therefore the old thing about telling a blind man in this case, me "follow my voice" doesn’t work. So when I was working there was a bank of six elevators, count them, six, and they were somehow at angles to each other, it was almost a circle shape with elevators spread out. So you’d hear the ping but by the time I located the right one it had closed. I’d ask for help and many times I’d be given such wonderful rejoinders as "why doesn’t your dog find it" or "can’t you hear where the elevator is". One lady told me that a lady, Andrea, worked in the building, she’s blind and had no problems so why did I have to ask for help. My pride had to combat with my need for help and I explained that I’m happy for Andrea (who I happen to know is partially sighted) but that I have a hearing problem and I needed her help, then she asked the formerly mentioned question "why won’t your dog find it" by this time we had both missed the elevator but apparently it was more important for the lady in question to make me feel that I’d done something wrong or my dog was inadequate–lol. I said in frustration, "good question, why don’t you ask him, he’s standing right there.”

I suppose we’re just inefficient or lazy–smile after all why should I ever want to do anything myself when people are just so helpful–sarcasm alert.

Anyway, that bank of lifts was a nightmare and if I thought it was bad with a dog, the days I went with a cane because my dog was sick and having an operation ended up really showing me how hard that bank of lifts was.

That’s one thing I don’t miss about my job, those gosh darned elevators, actually Evan, my hound at the time, was getting great about finding elevator open doors but by the time we got there, they’d closed–smile

So, thanks for the blog and I’m glad you’re on the list.

Great to meet you.”

Great to meet you too Dan. Many thanks to Dan for sharing his experiences. I think he describes the problem much more vividly and entertainingly than I did. It only goes to show that although thousands of miles separate guide Dog Users we often share hauntingly similar issues. It is time for guide dogs as an organisation to take this up I think.

David Griffith.


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