Some time ago, when we used to live Hong Kong and moved to Gold Coast far from central Hong Kong, I had to learn how to use public transport. (And people say that I am high maintenance, seriously?) All I learnt , was the only one bus that takes me back all the way to Central. N.962 .
(Up to today I do not know any other bus routes and services)
One day I hopped on this bus, went upstairs, took the seat in front for the best view, got comfy in my seat, opened my book to kill some time while heading to central for my yoga class. The journey time is around 45 minutes ..
I’ve read few pages maybe couple of chapters of my book and when I lift my head up to look outside .. I’ve realized Oh My! I just missed my stop! And Yes – what a great book! I quickly got up grabbed my bag and run downstairs to ask the driver to let me out, while he stopped on traffic lights. I know they are not allowed to do that, but I had to try! I didn’t know where I was going from here and where is the next stop going to be. He just looked at me and shook his head (not in the gesture that he can’t let me out, but in a gesture that he doesn’t understand English) I thought “Great!” then the green light came up and the bus has started moving again .. I panic!
In the fear of not knowing where I’m going I turned around and said:
“Excuse me, do you know how far is the next stop?” to first person behind me (Chinese man wearing super dark sunglasses seated right beside the driver) Who with big smile on his face and in perfect English said: “Where are you going?”
I thought to myself: Yes! Thank you God! And replied: “Central – Lyndhurst Terrace”
He replied “You have missed your stop, but you still ok, you can walk the footpath back to Central it is not too far to walk. I’ll be getting off at the next stop too, so I can show you the way or walk you there.”
I thank him for his kindness, pressed the bus-stop-bell and looked out of the window, now much more relaxed. It didn’t take long and the bus started to slow down indicating it stopping. I looked at my “Man” and I froze completely, speechless. I couldn’t believe my own eyes: He stood up and picked up his walking stick, which was placed between the wall and his seat all this time. I went very silent. With a million thoughts running thru my head I got off the bus and watch my Blind Man with his long white cane as he carefully stepped off the bus.
I grabbed him gently by his arm and directed him away from busy road. He looked at me (maybe didn’t really look but faced me) and said “I can walk you there, but I might be too slow for you” I have imagined that slow-walk with the blind man in my head for a second, thinking of all the things I could ask him about .. then I thought – why would I make this man to walk me all the way to my destination and take so much of his time ? I also quickly realized I was already running late for my yoga class and I would really need to run all the way to get there on time. I thank him for his kind offer and asked for the directions, explaining my rush situation. He told me very clearly how to get there, I thank him one more time wished him a good day, turn and started to run.
As soon as I entered the crowd I stopped, turned around to look at the blind man and shouted back at him “But do you know where you going ?”
He laughed and shouted back at me :
“I know Hong Kong better than you do!” And he was right.
He was the blind man who could see, because he wanted to see with all his heart. He didn’t need my name or face – I am my voice to him.
I thought of all those people I know that can see – but are blind.