A Blind Man’s Amazing Stories about Personal Safety – Interview with David Hyde – SDP #15

FACT:  David Hyde (left) Bench-Pressed His Guide Dog Out of a Window During A Fire Drill at a Prison.  David Worked at the Prison and the Dog Was Safe on the Fire Escape.


Listen to this interview at: https://tinyurl.com/SDP15-AUDIO


When David Hyde was a boy, his mother stuffed a sock to shape it into a ball and then set him forth to play and learn with his sighted peers. He is appreciative for the curious antics and experiences of his formative years, including roller skating down a hill while dodging people in his path, and reflects upon that stage as a time when he learned to assess and safely, or with informed risk, negotiate his environment.


David explains the concept of “talking signposts” and how they are used to orient and direct people that are blind as they travel through a busy location, such as the lobby of a convention center. Curiously, such approaches are rarely considered during crisis situations, like evacuating a burning building. In fact, the mere sound of alarms or horns can be disorienting, per David, as he interjected a casual apology to a friend that honked and waved at him several times in the past.


Of the many engaging stories shared by David, his recollection of being told to harbor in a stairwell during a fire drill evacuation set the groundwork for an interview theme of a redundant the collective public’s under-estimating of the capabilities of a blind person – and yes, David began the interview by stating he was fully comfortable with being referred to as a “blind man” – as the disability was not a definition of him, but merely a description of a characteristic about him.


OK, David laughed at this story – so it’s OK to chuckle as all’s well that ends well. Working some years as a door-to-door insurance salesman, David points to the importance of portraying confidence and strategies he used to increase his personal safety in unfamiliar territory. Still, he borrows a story about a blind salesman that was exploited to humor others as he painstakingly awaited a potentially lucrative reply from the grand patriarch of a large family.


No, it’s not due to funding, although a trained guide dog represents an investment of at least $30,000 ( not including food and care). David explains the reason to center on the need to first become proficient at white cane use and orientation and mobility. As he stated, a guide dog would not lead you through town to a convenience store – you just don’t follow it, you command it.


As the poignant, often-humorous, stories map the intersections of blindness, safety and humanity, David’s words are threaded with introspection from a life of marked accomplishments, although humbly stated, such as creating statewide professional development programs from scratch or serving in essential roles on national organizations (not to mention the countless positive influences on colleagues and students).


His parting advice for sighted people is to ask a blind person if he or she wants assistance in crossing a street or perhaps in some other situation. David is aware that people are expressing goodwill and are genuine in offers to help, but at the same time, he feels the stereotype of judged to be incapable because he has does not have sight. Nonetheless, David’s unlikely to turn down your offer to help him shovel his walkway following a robust Wisconsin snowstorm! This show is captivating and educational while also bringing to consideration one’s own beliefs and assumptions. The stories from this blind man will enable you to see a bit further over your own horizon. David Hyde can be contacted via email at david.hyde@wcbvi.k12.wi.us


You can view this interview on YouTube at https://tinyurl.com/SDP15-VIDEO

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1 Comment

  1. Jessica N and Makiko on March 18, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    I can’t imagine having to bench press my guide dog out.. I would be so scared