I boarded the bus, sat back and relaxed, looking forward to another inspiring day in the industrial wastelands of county Dublin. At the stop after mine an older woman boarded with her guide dog. This came as no surprise – the National Council for the Blind Headquarters is en route to my workplace, so people travel with their dogs on a regular basis on this route. This woman asked the driver what number bus it was. He told her and she asked him if he passed my stop. This came as a surprise – I guess I am just used to blind travellers disembarking at the NCBI building – the wastelands has never to this point been a destination.
The driver was a bit short with her – understandably I guess – there was a crowd of people waiting to board and she looked like she was ready to chat. She told him that she had never taken this bus before. She appeared slightly disorientated and confused. She sat down in the seat for disabled people. Her dog – who appeared to be late in life flopped morosely down beside her. She rang a number and said to the person on the other end of the line that she was on her way and could they come to meet her when she arrived. Up she stood and meandered back to the driver to ask once again if he would tell her when her stop was – my stop. I guess being slightly concerned about health and safety issues he told her to take her seat immediately.
A gentleman sitting behind her told her that he would be getting off the stop before hers and that he’d let her know when we arrived. I breathed a sigh of relief – need for involvement averted.
He kept his word and told her as he was exiting the bus that her stop was next.
I pressed the button.
‘Is this my stop’ she shouted up to the driver.
‘It is’ said I.
I followed her as she disembarked.
I scurried away. Looking back I could see her standing at the stop.
‘Oh hell’s bells’ I thought to myself.
I returned and asked her if someone was coming to collect her. She said that she didn’t know.
‘Where are you going?’ I asked.
She gave me the name of a vet’s clinic. Her dog was unwell.
A veterinary clinic? In the wastelands? Surely not.
I quickly googled it. Lo and behold the name appeared. It was 120 metres from the bus stop.
‘Come with me. I will bring you’.
‘Thank you’ said she.
So I did.
I hope her dog is OK.
I never knew that the wastelands had such a rich diversity of businesses.