As children, our parents told us to never get in a car with a stranger. Even if they promise you candy and cute puppies…you don’t get in the car. Well, I have a confession. I get in cars with strangers. Yep. They know what I need. They have what I need. I need a damn ride!!
Please don’t start making calls to my mom or start lecturing me on “Stranger Danger” too quickly. My mom knows I do this. She’s cool with it. In fact, a lot of people do this. These strangers are the various Uber and Lyft drivers who I get rides from!
I still use the MTS Access bus when my schedule allows, and I can plan ahead to sit on the bus for hours. If I want more direct transportation, these other services are great options!
The apps for both of these services are easily accessible with voiceover on an iPhone. At first, they seemed confusing and kinda intimidating to use. Ive witnessed my good friend, Blind Guy Chris request a car, via the apps; many times. I started to understand how to work them. Even as simple as they seemed to be, I just felt it would be less frustrating if I had others work it for me. Blind life is frustrating enough.
My first “test” came on a day when I got a call to pick up my sick daughter from school. I panicked. My friends were busy, and I had no way to get her. I was forced to make myself use the app to request a car… with no help from anyone. After several failed attempts I did it…I picked her up! I felt so incredibly independent!! Actually, I felt like a total badass mom! Just like back in the sighted day! Oh man, now I was hooked!
Since mastering the use of these appss… my experiences with the myriad of drivers has been pretty good. Sometimes they know I am blind and sometimes they don’t. Yes, that’s right, I don’t always divulge my invisible disability. Personally, I don’t think they need to know, unless it’s necessary. Now when I say necessary, it’s usually because the irritating driver asks me questions I really can’t answer. For example… “I don’t see the place you want to go to…” Seriously? WTF?? or “Can I drop you off over there?” Where the hell is “there”? or Should I go this way?” Do I look like a map? Yeah, these moments are when I feel it’s necessary to drop the “B” bomb. ….Sooo, here’s the dealio. I’m blind and I don’t fucking know what to tell you!! Use your damn GPS, go to the destination I entered into the app, and drop me off at the front door! That’s what I’m paying you to do and I will give your ass a 1–star rating if you don’t!….Well… I may not say all of that, but that’s what I’m thinkin’!! You may wonder why not tell them I’m legally blind from the get-go? Because frankly my dear, I just don’t want to.
Now, before any of you accuse me of being ashamed or embarrassed that I’m blind, I’m not. Not anymore. I am more than happy to have an engaging conversation with any driver about my blindness. I’ve met some very kind and empathetic people who want to understand why I’m not driving or can’t see a storefront. They want to know how I became legally blind. I get lots of questions about my condition and what I can and can’t see. And get this…no one has ever heard of LHON! Yeah. No shock there! Well, let me tell ya… by the time I get out of the car, that stranger knows ALL about LHON, “Girl Gone Blind”, and most likely I have shoved one of my cute GGB business cards in their face! I suspect most of them drive away feeling grateful for their vision and ability to drive.
It’s not that I don’t have wonderful friends and family who graciously drive me places, because I do. I think it’s smart to have some additional resources in your back pocket, like Uber and/or Lyft. These apps, like many others, assist us in being more independent, more in control of our situation, and feel totally badass because we CAN handle our own shit!!! For this, I am grateful.
SIDE NOTE: Please use common sense when using a rideshare service. Before you get in any car, ask the driver who they are picking up. If they don’t say your name – DON’T get in! And for god sakes, don’t use a rideshare service when you’re alone, drunk AF, at 2 AM! Be smart and be safe!!