Recently, a young woman named Megan Taylor boarded public transportation with her guide dog. What should have been a routine ride turned into anything but.
via Liverpool Echo
Megan, who suffers from episodic blindness due to a severe head injury, uses two-year-old Rowley to assist her on a daily basis. As she boarded the bus, another passenger had quite a lot to say about the dog.
The passenger shouted: “Why is there a f****** dog on the bus? Get it off.”
But when Megan tried to explain that Rowley is an assistance dog, the woman called her a liar because “guide dogs are Yellow Labradors and your dog is black.” Wait, what?!
According to the Liverpool Echo, Megan said: “I tried to explain to her that guide and assistance dogs can be any color and don’t have to be Labradors, although Rowley is. She told me I was wrong. (sic)”
via Liverpool Echo
Megan added: “I decided at this point there was nothing I could say to educate this woman and that it wasn’t worth my time. I instead chose to ignore her while she continued to talk nonsense.”
Megan, who suffered a serious head injury at 15, has a host of medical issues that include episodic blindness, or temporary loss of sight. Megan told the Echo, “I suffered multiple fractures to my skull in the incident which left me with multiple disabilities and medical conditions including hearing loss, impaired balance, frequent fainting attacks, vertigo, and episodic blindness.”
The young woman added, “Even when I can see I become so dizzy and disoriented when walking that I bump into obstacles and trip over things.”
Megan said that the incident with the passenger, which occurred on January 7, isn’t the first time she has been harassed regarding Rowley and is now “anxious” to use public transportation altogether.
She said, “I don’t think I’ve ever had a stress free trip on public transportation, that’s why I’m so nervous when using it now. Due to my poor balance and unpredictable fainting attacks it isn’t safe for me to stand on the bus or train, but on many occasions I have asked to sit in the priority seats only to be told no, because I don’t ‘look disabled’ (sic)”
“Even after I have shown people my medical alert card and pointed to my Assistance Dog I have been laughed at and told no.”
“On other occasions I have been spat at, stepped over, pushed out of the way and accused of being ‘another drunk youth’ when losing consciousness due to my heart condition and neurological disorder.”
Rowley helps Megan with much of her routine. Rowley “enables me to be independent, give me confidence, and keep me safe (sic).”
via Liverpool Echo
“People should know assistance dogs come in many shapes and sizes and are trained to support people with a range of disabilities. They aren’t just for the blind. Just like a wheelchair, walking stick, or pair of glasses, they are important and vital auxiliary aids and as such are legally permitted to accompany their disabled owner in all public places.”
Megan added: “Thanks to the confidence Rowley has given me I was able to stay calm when the woman started shouting at me. I try to stay positive and not let incidents such as what happened get me down because I am not ashamed of my disability. Despite having so many negative experiences, I know that these people are the minority. Most people are good and kind.”
What do you think about the outspoken bus passenger? Would you have intervened on Megan’s behalf?
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