One day, I saw a blind man on the subway. He wore a green jacket and had a German shepherd in a seeing eye dog harness. He didn’t sit, but stood near the door in the middle of the car. One hand rested on the pole, steadying him. When the train stopped at Park Street, the blind man moved to get off. But everyone else pushed past him on the way out. Everyone was in a hurry to get off first. The blind man couldn’t move off the top step of the car. When everyone who wanted to get off had, the people started getting on. It amazed me how many people were giving the man dirty looks, as if he was in their way and not the other way around.
When the people were done squeezing their way in the train, the doors closed. The blind man and his dog were still in the car. I watched him realize that the doors had closed. That he had missed his stop. He put his hand on the doors and lowered his head.
I wanted to do something, stop the train so he could get off. But I just watched him as the trains started again, appalled that everyone was ignoring him. And even more ashamed that I was one of them. Maybe I was the only one who had given the blind man a second thought, but I hadn’t acted on it. I was just as guilty as the rest of them.
The man and his dog got off at the next stop. I wanted to get off with him, maybe guide him back to the stop he wanted to get off on. But again, I did nothing. I braced myself against the movement of the train and wondered how he would find his way back to Park Street in the labyrinth of paths in the park.