I sat in the train to Hamburg Altona. Until the departure of the train were still 14 minutes left. I was preparing for a telephone conference when two people entered my compartment. They were speaking high German. I was in the middle of my preparations and completely blanked out their conversation. But something about this couple was different. Then the man started to say good-bye and left the train. Only then I realised that the woman, from her language she was German, is blind. I mustered her and thought about her fate, unable to concentrate on my work. If there is a certainty in life then it is the fact that life is not fair at all.
The train started to move. The blind woman took a magazine full of white pages out of her backpack and started to read with her fingertips.
Then the announcement came that the train only goes until Basel and that passengers traveling to Germany have to change train. I started to feel bad. How will the blind woman manage to change the train in the hectic evening rush hour, I asked myself. Will she miss the train? Does she need help perhaps?
But since it was about time to dial into my phone conference, all these thoughts were chased away. Shortly before the arrival in Basel I was finished with my work. She had already packed her book and was almost ready to get off the Train.
I asked her whether she was travelling to Germany and had to get off the train. She said no and said that she is living in Basel. I offered her my help for getting off the train and at the same time was afraid that she would be offended by my offer.
To my surprise she said that she would be glad. I helped her out of the train, hold her left elbow and arm and tried to guide her safely through the evening chaos at the train station. Have you ever done this? For me it was an absolute first and I realised how difficult my task is and how much I am lacking practice. I had to note that people are behaving like sheep, even though I am not sure whether that’s not an insult for the sheep.
The mass of people is moving fast, chaotic and completely reckless. Some of them stare on the screen of their telephone while walking and don’t even notice their surroundings. I did not know what strategy blind people apply in such situation since I as a seeing person was fully occupied with a avoiding possible crashes and to pilot my new acquaintance through the crowded station hall.
In these few minutes she told me about her life and I thought how amazing it is that everthing relevant from decades of life can be summarized within minutes.
We managed to get in front of the station, where our ways split. I reluctantly left her alone but she was very certain that it would not be a problem for her.
I think that more consideration for the others would be necessary in our performance-oriented society. But as usually, one best starts with oneself.
Bildquelle: Katharina Wieland Müller / pixelio.de