Most people in the world are willing to help me out...

Oxford Mail: Gavin Hageman Gavin Hageman

We hear it said many times in the media that the sense of community spirit and looking after each other out there in the big wide world is something that doesn’t happen any more. That people will walk past somebody in trouble without helping them.

As a disabled person out there in the big wide world I find that I have experienced both the good and the bad in other people but generally I think people are amazingly kind and helpful to me.

On one particular occasion I was heading into Oxford from Witney for a hospital appointment but was going to be terribly late. A nice lady on the bus suggested that I should get off at the railway station and catch a taxi from there and that would be the only way to get to my appointment on time.

I told her that I didn’t have enough cash for the taxi and she said she would get off with me and lead me to where the cashpoints are in the railway station, which she did only to find out they were all out of order.

She was absolutely insistent that she give me some money for the taxi and put it into my pocket as I tried to walk away. The result was that I got to my important hospital appointment on time and I would love to find this lady to pay her back and thank her properly.

People are very kind and helpful most of the time and on that particular day my faith in human nature was certainly a bit boosted.

I have been helped to cross busy roads on many occasions and this is also something that I appreciate greatly.

However, some taxi drivers can prove difficult on occasion.

Many of the taxi drivers in Oxford come from countries overseas where it is not common to have working dogs or pet dogs.

They often assume that dogs are dangerous and aggressive probably because most of the dogs where they come from originally are guard dogs, or maybe feral or stray dogs.

Peter and I have been refused entry into a taxi on many occasions but the taxi drivers can normally be talked around once I explained the situation with Peter.

One taxi driver even tried to charge me £5 just for sitting in his taxi with my dog even without going anywhere.

Most of them are very helpful to me and Peter and I would particularly like to thank the taxi driver who tracked me down and returned my mobile phone to me after I’d left it in his Oxford taxi.

The process of educating people about disability and discrimination is a continuous and ongoing process, but I feel that the often pushed negative view of human nature is overstated and most people are absolutely amazing.

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