KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) — “Every religion in the world preaches kind treatment towards all creatures, including animals”.
Mohd Kamil Affendy Hashim, 32, lives by the saying.
He is currently the only taxi driver in the capital city that serves the blind with guide dogs.
He said he was called to provide the service after watching a short reality video entitled “Are You Blind”, uploaded by Jason Lin on YouTube, recently.
“The video is of a blind person who is aided by his guide dog to move around. He was banned from using public transportation and prevented from entering shopping premises.
“I felt sympathetic of his plight as he was often brushed off, particularly in public places, simply because he was using a guide dog to get around”, Mohd Kamil said to Bernama.
ENSURING CLEAN SEATS
Mohd Kamil who started driving taxis since 2008 said before he decided to offer the service for the blind, he gleaned as much information as he could on guide dogs from the internet, including from Islamic scholars.
“I also asked the advice of ‘ustaz’ (teachers of Islam) on how to ‘samak’ (cleanse) the seats in my taxi for the ease of the next passengers”, he said.
He said he would usually usher the guide dog into the back seat with its owner. The dog would be sitting on a plastic-wrapped portion of the seat.
“The plastic would be discarded immediately after the dog and its owner disembark. I would then samak the seat. I don’t mind the tedious process, because I want to ensure the comfort and ease of mind of my next passengers”, he said.
Mohd Kamil recently uploaded a Facebook status informing the public of the service he was offering.
“I’m Malay and a Muslim. A taxi driver in KL. I stay in Setapak. I support guide dogs. Any blind man with a guide dog who needs a ride, their family and friends can always SMS or WhatsApp me”, it ran.
He said the status update garnered numerous positive and encouraging feedback, including from his Muslim friends.
“Not many taxi drivers are willing to do this. However, I am positive that more sight-impared individuals would be encouraged to use guide dogs instead of walking sticks after this.
“I do not want those with guide dogs to continue being discriminated by society”, he said.
He said in Western countries, blind people using guide dogs receive preferential treatment on public transportations or when crossing roads.
“Restaurants and shopping malls also allow those with guide dogs to enter their premises”, he said.
He said the public need not worry about guide dogs as they had been highly trained to serve the blind.
“They need to know that there are many ways to handle a dog. We need not run away from it.
“Guide dogs have been highly trained to serve its blind owner. It would not run wild or bark without reason”, he explained.