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Blind Man Brought To Tears After Londoners Refuse To Give Up Seats

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Blind Man Brought To Tears After Londoners Refuse To Give Up Seats

A blind man has been brought to tears by the refusal of other passengers on a London train to give up their seat.

We all know England's capital gets a bad rap for this sort of thing - sometimes fairly, sometimes unfairly - but come on, a blind man?

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Thirty-seven-year-old Amit Patel used to work as an A&E doctor, but then several years ago he developed a condition called keratoconus which eventually took his sight five years ago.

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Since then he's been getting around with the help of his faithful guide dog, Kika.

Kika is a clever dog as well - she is one of only five percent of guide dogs who are trained to take their owners on escalators.

The rush hour Southeastern train was packed, as you might imagine, but despite there being several seats reserved for those less able to stand he was not offered one despite his disability.

Mr Patel boarded the train in the first carriage, where he knew there was a disabled seating section and asked Kika to set about her usual job of finding a seat.

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He told The Standard: "Normally she is really good or occasionally somebody says, 'here have my seat', but not yesterday. Nobody moved, not one person."

That meant that Mr Patel was forced to lean against the doors without even a pole to hold onto for the whole journey between New Eltham and Waterloo East. Kika was also forced to stand up unsteadily on the train because it was too wet for her to lie down.

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Mr Patel continued: "People don't realise how hard Kika has to work. They think, 'Oh, a dog, how cute'. And if she can't concentrate because she can't lie down, then she can't keep me safe.

"People don't see the sheer terror in my face as I try to keep Kika safe as well as hold on myself."

After the incident, he tweeted: "People can be so selfish, they pretend they can't see or hear when I ask if there's a seat available.

"It's so humiliating when I struggle to find something to hold onto & keep Kika safe at the same time, this is when you'll see a tear running down my face. Life is difficult enough"

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Sadly, this isn't his first bad encounter on London's public transport system this year. In February this year he filmed an angry commuter demanding that Kika move out of the way on an escalator before barging past the dog.

Obviously not everyone is able to give up their seat, often for reasons that aren't always obvious, but surely someone could have offered on this occasion.

Despite his negative experiences, Mr Patel remains upbeat about the attitude of the vast majority of Londoners.

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He said: "The majority of Londoners are amazing - but if you see someone who is elderly or pregnant, or who otherwise needs a seat, please offer it to them."

A spokesperson for Southeastern railway said: "We would hope that people use their judgement and give up seats to passengers who may have a greater need, and we're sorry to hear that Mr Patel experienced an awkward journey on this occasion."

Topics: UK News, Transport, Train, UK, London, guide dog

Tom Wood
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