17 November 2013

Blind fools

Throughout this year of giving daily, I’ve written every day about people who are trying to make the world a better place. One of the benefits of the blog for me has been to realize how many folks are doing good, whether it’s trying to spare others pain that they have experienced themselves or taking a need to help and turning their beliefs into action. 

But, often, there is no formal structure for the goodness people do and it arises out of a circumstance. Such was the case a few days ago after US Airways tossed a blind man, Albert Rizzo, and his guide dog off a flight because the dog was getting restless after the plane was held on the tarmac for a long time.  The flight attendants insisted that the dog continue to lie by his owner’s feet, while the dog needed to stretch out in the aisle. 

After removing the blind man and his dog, the rest of the passengers staged a bit of a rebellion, insisting that there was no reason for the removal. 

The pilot ultimately tossed everyone from the flight and bussed them from Philadelphia to Long Island. I hate how the airline, apparently not obeying its own rules on guide dogs, acts, but I love that so many passengers were able to forget about their own needs, and time schedules, and demand justice, even though it meant severely inconveniencing themselves further after the initial delay. 

It feels good to do good. Study after study has shown that showing kindness to others is one of the best things you can do for yourself both physically and mentally. I’ve often wished that I had taken all my vitals before I started this experiment this year and then again at the end to see if my cholesterol or blood pressure had dropped over the 12 months. I know that writing the column sometimes- on the best days- feels almost like meditation to me as I concentrate on what’s right in the world. 

Last time I checked, US Airways was defending its actions. To me, they seem indefensible. 

I don’t know where Rizzo got his guide dog from, but together I’m giving to an organization that has helped a lot of other sightless people.

Nov. 17: Guide Dogs for the Blind http://www.guidedogs.com/site/PageServer

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