Singapore – A visually-impaired lady was blocked from boarding an SBS bus on June 19 (Wednesday) by another lady who would not allow her guide dog to enter.
Ms Cassandra Chiu went to Facebook to share her experience riding public transit with a guide dog.
“This morning, I took the bus with my daughter to teach her how to get to school on her own,” wrote Ms Chiu.
When they got to the Lucky Plaza bus stop to change buses, the mother and daughter had some trouble riding SBS bus 123. A woman blocked their way while exclaiming, “Dog cannot go up bus.” She was referring to Elke, the guide dog companion of Ms Chiu.
“Even after my daughter told her it is a guide dog, she continued to block my way,” said Ms Chiu. “I literally had to push my way through to get onto the bus.”
Thankfully, the bus driver knew what a guide dog was and assisted the trio and even asked around for a volunteer to give up his seat so that Ms Chiu could get comfortable.
The lady’s response to seeing a dog on the bus was not uncommon for someone with a guide dog. Thankfully, the bus driver knew what the special harness on Elke meant.
“It was so heart-warming that the situation on the bus is quite different,” said Ms Chiu. “Thank you, nice bus captain!” she added.
To date, there are only eight guide dogs in Singapore. They undergo a rigorous training before becoming certified to assist their hooman.
Elke, who succeeded Esme the guide dog after her retirement, recently graduated from Guide Dogs Victoria with Ms Chiu whom she calls her best mate.
It is her job to ensure Ms Chiu’s safety at all times during her daily travels.
“I guide Cassandra by navigating around the dangerous obstacles on the pavements and weaving around the many many people that pass us by. Along the way, I alert Cassandra of traffic crossings, steps, escalators, and elevators. I also find seats for Cassandra on the trains and buses if there are any,” shared Elke in her About page.
According to Guide Dogs Singapore, guide dogs are legally permitted to travel on all public transport and enter food establishments, including halal restaurants.
The dogs are trained to relieve themselves on command so the general public need not worry about any accidents.
More information on these furry heroes here.
The online community gave their positive feedback and support toward Ms Chiu’s post to which she was grateful for.
In an update, she wrote, “And would like to urge fellow Singaporeans to extend this goodwill to everyone to co-create #APlaceForUs that we can all be proud to call HOME.”
She will continue to share her day-to-day life with her guide dog to bring more awareness on the matter.