Regular and able-bodied individuals have very poor misconceptions about blind people.
Michael Hingson is a 9/11 survivor and the author of Thunder Dog. Michael’s guide dog took him down 78 flights of stairs while he was in one of the World Trade Centers. On this episode, Michael discusses how being blind is the least of his challenges. People’s poor misconceptions about the blind is the biggest challenge Michael currently faces and has become a blindness advocate to teach people that those living with blindness can lead perfectly normal lives.
Key Takeaways:[2:40] Michael walked down 78 flights of stairs during 9/11 with his guide dog. [3:55] Michael is blind since birth. [8:00] People have poor misconceptions about blind people. [9:45] Being blind isn’t really a challenge that Michael faces. [11:55] One of the top four fears in the country is going blind. [14:55] Michael’s wife is in a wheelchair and she faces the same misconceptions from people. [17:20] We’re defined by our choices and by our actions, not by the fact that we are blind. [21:20] When Michael accepted the position at the World Trade Center, he spent time learning where all the emergency exits were. [26:10] Michael knew things were going to be okay because his guide dog, Roselle, was perfectly calm during the attack. [31:25] Don’t interact or talk to a guide dog while he/she is working. [36:40] When Michael and ten others were walking away from tower 1, it had collapsed. [39:20] Michael has appeared on Larry King Live, five times. [43:40] When did Michael found the Roselle’s Dream Foundation? [49:35] How does Michael use echo location? [56:20] Good training and a good mindset is really key to success. [1:00:05] Michael is a full-time speaker and discusses the value he tries to bring to each talk. [1:05:35] Being blind is like being left-handed. People have illogical misconceptions about the two. [1:08:10] We all have skills that we can use, but you have to be willing to give and teach them to others. [1:10:05] Does Michael have any final pieces of advice? Sometimes being a hero is just doing your job.
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