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Andy Rylance
11th Mar 2008, 10:14
Here is my moral dilemma.

A new person has started working in the office. He is partially sighted so cannot drive and has to get the train to work. The train station is about a 15 minute walk and you have to cross over a nasty roundabout without a crossing or traffic lights anywhere near to get to it directly.

It is about a 10 minute drive, because the driving route is through various traffic lights to work your way around.

The problem is that no one else in the office finishes at a similar time to this guy except for me. So I often feel morally obliged to run him to the station, especially if it is pouring with rain. The fact he cannot see out of one eye and has to cross a crazy roundabout is troubling.

However the total cost to my time is about 20 minutes by the time I have run him to the station which is in the opposite direction to where I need to go.

So, I need ppruners to help me work out whether I should take pity on him and always give him a lift, not give him a lift at all, or only in bad weather. I feel I should be grateful for having both eyes working, but I am also aware that if I get into the habit of giving him a lift then it will be very difficult to stop and that will cost me at least an hour an a half of my time each week. Am I mean? Advice...

flower
11th Mar 2008, 10:18
I'm sure the gentlemen in question took into account his walk to work when he took the job on, partially sighted and blind folk adapt to their situation and I guess wouldn't appreciate being considered incapable of being able to cross that road. Bad weather trips are a nice thing to offer to your colleagues and I would suggest are the best way to go forward, of course you could in casual chat find out how difficult he may find the walk but I bet you find he is just fine with it.

Andy Rylance
11th Mar 2008, 10:35
When I have offered him a lift he jumped at the chance and said "that roundabout is very nasty I nearly have come a cropper there a few times, thanks so much for the lift"

But having to leave the office and get into my car while he walks in front of my car in the car park to walk to the station always makes me feel a slight "i really should" feeling...

flower
11th Mar 2008, 10:45
Short term this wont help but if it is a problem and others may cross at that roundabout perhaps you should suggest to the man to contact the local Highways department and ask them about putting in a crossing ?

I understand your dilemma it is hard to walk away and leave someone to do something you think may endanger them , you have to decide how often you can do it and sometimes you wont be able to even in bad weather but it is your time and I'm sure the gent doesn't expect you to do it every day .

plinkton
11th Mar 2008, 11:02
Just offer a lift whenever the weather is bad, look out the window when you are both getting ready to leave and offer, and on fine days, make a slightly leading statement like: "Will you be OK today or would you like a lift?".

Most blind or partially sighted folks are pretty independent or like to be, I understand the extra time in your car but wouldn't see this as 'taking pity', we all need a break sometimes. Anyway, he should be able to get assistance at said roundabout from a passer-by.

To help or assist without being asked and not expecting anything in return is satisfying, enjoy this feeling.

PS, when you say ...he cannot see out of one eye... ...and I notice you are in London... I wonder if this is Gordon Brown, does he work in your office? If so, do us all a favour, sneek out early and knock him over at that dodgy roundabout.

whiz
11th Mar 2008, 11:16
I can't believe you even have to ask the question but then perhaps thats just the way of the world these days.
Give the bloke a lift, rain, hail or shine.
There go you but for the grace of god and all that.

Juud
11th Mar 2008, 11:56
Andy, I don´t think you are mean at all. Quite the opposite in fact. You are looking out for someone who is neither a friend nor a family member and doing it in the knowledge that there won´t be anything in it for you.
True altruism mate, one of the universal basics of a civilised human being. Good for you. :ok:

Since you are asking for advice on the practicalities, here´s mine FWIW.
Bad weather lifts from you only, and if you really want to go the extra mile, you talk to your boss/manager whatever, and suggest they contact the local Highway Department on behalf of the new employee. Since they hired the man in the first place, they are most likely susceptible to the thought of doing right by him without patronising him in any way.

Wader2
11th Mar 2008, 12:11
You take him home but how does he get to work?

Contacting the highways people is the only real solution unless your employer would provide a taxi or taxi service?

Tigs2
11th Mar 2008, 12:41
Whiz
I think you are being a little unfair with your reply.

Andy
What you are doing is a good thing, but sometimes you have to consider you and the family. If you have young kids, by the time many parents get home from work they only have an hour with the blighters before they are off to bed, so 20 minutes is a lot out of their/your time. My brother lost one eye about four years ago, and if you suggested he was unable to go about his normal life, in particular crossing the road he would be more than slightly irate. Giving any colleague a lift in bad weather is a nice gesture. Do not misconstrue what this chap says. When he commented that he nearly came a cropper at a busy roundabout, then I am sure that many people with full vision would comment the same at a busy road junction. I think if he thought you were giving him a lift because you feel sorry for him, he would be mortified.

The suggestions from Pruners about the highways people etc over a crossing is a good way ahead.

whiz
11th Mar 2008, 13:06
Whiz
I think you are being a little unfair with your reply.

Andy
What you are doing is a good thing, but sometimes you have to consider you and the family. If you have young kids, by the time many parents get home from work they only have an hour with the blighters before they are off to bed, so 20 minutes is a lot out of their/your time. My brother lost one eye about four years ago, and if you suggested he was unable to go about his normal life, in particular crossing the road he would be more than slightly irate. Giving any colleague a lift in bad weather is a nice gesture. Do not misconstrue what this chap says. When he commented that he nearly came a cropper at a busy roundabout, then I am sure that many people with full vision would comment the same at a busy road junction. I think if he thought you were giving him a lift because you feel sorry for him, he would be mortified.

The suggestions from Pruners about the highways people etc over a crossing is a good way ahead.


I'd rather think of it as 'harsh but fair' Tigs. Obviously I don't know the ins and outs of the situation but to me its a rhetorical question.

PS Good for you for giving the guy a lift at all Andy

airship
11th Mar 2008, 13:26
I think it's admirable that:

1) A partially-sighted individual makes the effort to work
2) A company makes the effort to employ that individual
3) A co-worker worries about his colleague getting to / from work

If there wasn't so much bureaucracy and social services were truly worth their name, there might be other solutions to the ones already suggested:

1) Social security could organise a regular "taxi service" to / from the station and work
2) The company might be able to contribute a little
3) Together, they might even pay Andy an allowance and a slightly shorter work day to be the "taxi" if he wants

Compared to the billions our social services regularly disburse to nefarious individuals for dubious reasons, a little flexibility in this particular case from an agency representing taxpayers' interests and the "common good", would not go amiss...?!

Andy should not feel that the responsibility is his alone...

Viva La Revolución!

flower
11th Mar 2008, 13:33
The gent in question should already be entitled to £45 a week towards transport costs through the mobility component of the Disability living Allowance , it is up to him how he chooses to spend it.

ShyTorque
11th Mar 2008, 13:41
Why not poke your own eye out and tell him you'll take turns?

whiz
11th Mar 2008, 13:51
The gent in question should already be entitled to £45 a week towards transport costs through the mobility component of the Disability living Allowance , it is up to him how he chooses to spend it.

Have you asked him to chip in for the fuel Andy? ;)

airship
11th Mar 2008, 14:49
Have you asked him to chip in for the fuel Andy? ;) And don't forget to apply an adequate fuel surcharge - I mean everyone's (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/5104946.stm) doing it already right? :uhoh:

airborne_artist
11th Mar 2008, 15:20
Just remember this - what goes around comes around. Give the guy a lift. Maybe he has a gorgeous younger sister ;)

gingernut
11th Mar 2008, 15:39
Are you sure he's not just a bit of an attention seeker? Is he really partially sighted.

All joking apart, what you're doing is admirable.

In all honesty, I probably wouldn't do it, 'specially if it meant half an hour out of my homelife- I'd probably make some lame excuse up, 'cos I a'int that assertive, and don't wanna look, (and feel), a tw*t.

Sorry just re-read your post- 20 minutes is **** all, give him a lift and feel good about something.

DLA goes nowhere.

matt_hooks
11th Mar 2008, 15:40
Andy, I know you probably didn't mean it as it comes across, but don't EVER let him think you are "taking pity" on him. I'm sure he appreciates the lift, but would be mortally offended if he thought you were doing it out of pity. Most blind/partially sighted people I know, in fact most people who are disabled in some way or other, only want to be treated the same as other people.

I think the way forward would be to talk to the guy. Tell him you're more than happy to give him a lift when necessary, but that he shouldn't feel obliged to say yes. He might feel that you would be offended if he declined the offer!

PilotsPal
11th Mar 2008, 17:58
I work with a totally blind man who has a guide dog and have some experience of the practical issues that can arise with this particular disability.

What I am not clear about in this case is how much efffective vision this man has - am I right in thinking that he has one good eye, or that he has restricted vision in that eye? If he has one good eye then I certainly don't feel that Andy should be under any obligation to drive the man around.

The man I work with makes absolutely no concessions to his own disability despite having what is probably the most lazy, greedy and easily distracted guide dog in the country! He recently had a ski-ing holiday in St Moritz and came back full of enthusiam for snowboarding. He happily travels the length and breadth of the country and certainly doesn't expect any handholding. These days if you are registered as partially sighted or blind there are many benefit entitlements that can be claimed - certainly my colleague doesn't pay anything for travel on underground, bus and suburban rail services in London.

I usually make his tea for him and occasionally get his lunch if he's busy because it's quicker - he repays the favour by buying me drinks/lunch now and then.

Perhaps the fact that my colleague is Britain's second most successful Paralympian does set him apart from the ordinary (9 gold Olympic medals, 7 world records, etc). I can't imagine him being reliant on someone to give him a lift to the station although he has no qualms in telling me to use his blindness to get a decent table at our favourite wine bar on a busy Friday lunchtime.

BlueWolf
11th Mar 2008, 20:17
I can't believe you even have to ask the question but then perhaps thats just the way of the world these days.
Give the bloke a lift, rain, hail or shine.
There go you but for the grace of god and all that.

What whiz said. :ok:

Many years ago Senior, being something of a radio actor (that's how long ago it was) did some part time reading for Talking Books on behalf of the Blind Foundation. There were two other guys who worked there, one of whom was blind, the other had no arms. They used to take each other to the toilet.

Humanity only keeps on keeping on because we help each other out.

flower
11th Mar 2008, 20:44
Sounds like your colleagues Guide dog is one heck of a character there PP.
Our family solicitor now deceased was blind, he walked to work everyday a walk longer than the 15 minutes which also entailed crossing a busy main road, he stood there on the side of the road with his white stick until someone came to his assistance, someone always came to his assistance including drivers stopping their cars and helping out.
He also was town mayor for a year and was very active full stop in the community. His greatest sadness was that it was a genetic disorder that made him blind when he was 14 and he sadly passed it on to one of his sons.

airship
11th Mar 2008, 20:51
Humanity only keeps on keeping on because we help each other out. That's very sentimental, but especially coming from BlueWolf...

My own opinion is that "humanity" will carry on until the last polar bear is shot, having become a menace to holiday-makers "up there"; until the day someone pays a hefty price to see a Bengal tiger from the back of an Indian elephant, only to find out they're all ground up and in jars at Chinese pharmacies and sues his tour operator; when we all realise that we're the real menace...

The deductions on wages of ordinary working people are so great today that they probably cannot even afford to think about those who fall outside of the greedy all-encompassing social security regimes which collect without counting and disburse so ineffectively. It's a far cry from the biblical "10% for the poor". It mainly appears to go towards fat pensions for some nowadays. The next time you're stuck at the traffic lights and a Romanian approaches with a young child in tow, ensure that your anger is controlled, or at least directed properly. And hand over 20 centimes, if that's all you can do. For your "brother"... :sad:

nosefirsteverytime
12th Mar 2008, 06:31
airship, that just b rings it eright down.

You sure are a glass half empty person.

Anyways, BACK ON TOPIC!

Good on ya for doing it Andy, at the end of the day, it's your decision. If you can, do. If the time at home is important to you, than don't. It's your right to decide.

I would if he needed it

stevef
12th Mar 2008, 07:57
What Plinkton, Juud and Matt Hooks suggested, I reckon.
It's easy to for people to say: 'Go on, give the guy a lift all the time,' when they're not the ones that have to do it.

qwertyplop
12th Mar 2008, 08:00
Your employer has a duty under the Disability Discrimination Act to make reasonable adjustments for this guy to be in the workplace.

Through Access to Work (DWP) he may be able to claim the cost of a taxi to and from the station - get him to speak to any Jobcentre Plus and ask to be referred to the Disability Advisor.

These are the people who will support him and advise him should he need it.

Andy Rylance
12th Mar 2008, 12:02
Thank you for all your opinions:

Came across another problem - I offered him a lift the other day and 5 minutes before we were due to go he took a call and spent 20 minutes on the phone - it was clear he was trying to get off the call without being really rude to the caller, but I ended up then spending 15 + 20 = 35 extra minutes now in total "diversion" time to give him a lift. I was not sure what to do whether to tell him I was going or to hang on... he clearly wanted the lift because it was raining and horrible outside and didn't tell me to go, but I ended up feeling really grumpy realising I was half hour after finish time and still hadn't actually started by own journey home.

Was my grumpiness morally allowable?!

ShyTorque
12th Mar 2008, 12:12
A good saying: Today's favour is tomorrow's obligation.

Your employer took him on, your employer should help the guy (and you) out, too. You have no personal responsibility to be a personal chauffeur to him.

(Having said that, I would probably be the one doing what you are doing :O ).

Alloa Akbar
12th Mar 2008, 13:04
This sounds like an excellent opportunity for you to do more good deeds for your co-workers..

What you do is run a weekly sweep, you can have various winning criteria from the make or colour of the first vehicle to hit him, the nature of the injury etc etc etc. Every week he survives, you just have a "rollover".

Pretty soon you will be held in high esteem by your colleagues for caring about the needs of the many.. and as Mr Spock once said "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.." Just before he carked it.

:ok:

dollydaydream
12th Mar 2008, 13:46
Why not talk to the guy:rolleyes:
Explain you are happy to give him a lift but can't commit to doing it all the time. I don't think you have to make excuses but if you felt the need perhaps you could invent a 'problem' at home!
Ask him how difficult the journey is for him, he obviously has a degree of independence or he wouldn't be in the job, and if it is causing him problems then suggest he talk to your bosses.
I don't think you should feel guilty, what will he do when you're on holiday/sick etc.

Talk to him - he will probably appreciate your honesty.

ShyTorque
12th Mar 2008, 13:58
Yes, I suggest you show him this thread..... :8

dollydaydream
12th Mar 2008, 14:00
Why not - he's partially sighted - presumably no problem with his intelligence OR sense of humour:)

Dushan
12th Mar 2008, 15:12
Giving a fellow worker a lift, once in a while, should not be a chore. However it has to fit in your plans. If it takes you out of your way, then it's not a good thing. But once in a while, when rain or other calamity exists why not.

As for the suggestions of getting the nanny state to send taxis, build cross walks, and all other socialist ideas; absolutely not. The fellow took the job knowing (presumably) what the transportation options are. Getting the state or the employer to spend 1000s if not 100,S on building the crosswalk or send taxis so that you don't feel guilty is not a good idea. Those who suggest it want to dip in everyone's pocket to cleanse your guilt.

I personally give someone a lift when I can, simply because I hate to see her spend 1hr on a train/bus/walk, but only when it is convenient to me. She appreciates it - but there is no obligation.

Binoculars
12th Mar 2008, 17:01
Does anybody else get echoes of Send Clowns from Dushan's posts? I refer, Dushan, only to the constant and boringly repetitive use of the word "socialist" to dismiss any concept with which you don't agree. Give it a rest, and acknowledge that the western world has a lot of situations it needs to address, and the days of Ronnie Raygun, while no doubt dear to your conservative heart, are no longer applicable.

This is a sticky matter, and it comes about because society has not yet figured out whether money should be spent on these nasty little niggling ethical problems. To some, perhaps to the allegorical martian who arrives here with no knowledge of our world, the answer would be simple. What would that answer be? Take your pick; whatever suits your personal views.

If I were in the thread starter's shoes, I would feel much the same way. Summed up as; "hey, I'm happy to do my bit, but I don't want to devote my whole life to this cause. Where is everyone else when it counts?"

Put1992
12th Mar 2008, 17:13
To some, perhaps to the allegorical martian who arrives here with no knowledge of our world, the answer would be simple. What would that answer be? Take your pick; whatever suits your personal views.


I agree.

I would personally give him a lift if it was on your route home. As it isn't, i don't think you should have to add a large portion on time onto your journey home.

Perhaps quitely suggesting to your colleagues who leave slightly before him, that they should hang around for a bit to give him a lift.

Although that could spark a thread like this from them with the question "should i wait...." :\

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!
12th Mar 2008, 17:26
You take him home but how does he get to work?Maybe on the way to work the traffic at the roundabout is coming from the side with the good eye

luoto
13th Mar 2008, 06:33
Sorry for maybe long post and a few errors (that will be evident).

This message thread interests me. I am partially sighted/partially blind whatever you want to call it. I have had it since birth (was born in UK but am a Finnish citizen living in Finland now). My eyesight is sufficient that I can use a computer (albeit with a big screen/big fonts) with minor discomfort but I can not drive a car due to the poor sight. Officially I have a 50% disability by some obscure (to me) description system used by the Finnish government and the UN and this is likely to be increased shortly under the next review.

It is true that you tend to get used to such things. I have known from an early age I am very unlikely to drive (yet as a teenager I went to car school and at that time you did not need a doctor's letter or test in advance). The school teacher did not notice any issues with my sight and I drove a lot under supervision and they advised me to do my driver's test quite quickly. I only failed on the first part... what is the registration number :) Yet I never had a crash (nor saw any) and whilst could not focus on the small number plates I apparently had a good wider perspective.

Looking at how my vision is now, and apparently it has not deteriorated over time according to the eyesight prescription, there is no way I would drive and I would have handed in my licence a long time ago... but at that time you got used to what little sight you have and climb over mountains.

I went to a "normal school" (despite the authorities trying to send me a "special school" which, in the 70s, was probably a dumping ground compared to the slightly more enlightened times we can live in. We got no special help or even social counselling so you just got on with it and made the best you can. This is an amazing difference to how things are in Finland (with our slightly higher taxes.. but not so much compared to the UK nowadays...) and the social care system is very good. Maybe the UK has changed over the past nearly 40 years though a little too.

From what I read of the UK system, the social care help services are often overladen with people who are not really "needing" the help but they are categorised as disabled in order to make other statistics look good. So instead of helping and helping well a "core" of genuine disabled clients, the authorities are having to also deal with a "broader" group of people who might need help, but they are not disabled in the truer sense of the word but it sounds better to be "unable to work due to sickness" than "unemployed, due to uselessness" (I am using broad categories rather than trying to be offensive).

As a person with such problems, it can be very hard to accept help because you might not feel you need it. But when you break through your pride (if you have not fell for the "I am a victim, a useless sack of sh1te, a burden on society" mindset that a few sadly have got themselves into, you are immensely grateful for non patronising, genuine offers of help. Of course everyone can be different.

In Finland the social authorities have a responsibility to provide reasonable traffic/travel assistance for those with disabilities to get to work. It can be bus, taxi or whatever according to client's needs. Obviously I could not say I need to work in Helsinki everyday and they will just give me air tickets and taxi, but to work in the next town or such (particularly in the rural area) is not a hard thing to get. (I work for myself though, and have the office building in another part of our lot, so I don't have to commute !).

Our local council, following national regulations, also provides a number of transport options each month for "private" things. So I get 18 one way taxi journeys if I want to go to say a social group or meeting. If I needed extra help (i.e. support worker, help with shopping and things like that you can also apply for that). There are many other benefits if you needthem and majority of them are not income dependent so you don't have to sell your house to get any help.

This help is viewed as part of a general "tax on society" to try and create a degree of equalness for all. It is not a communist utopia as of course we are not all equal but you can try and equal out the access to society.

Just as I pay tax and part of that goes towards the Opera house, other subsidies and services I might not use in the country, someone else pays a bit for my help and maybe it equals out.

So back to the help thing. It is nice that you can help the person a little. I hope they don't create an obligation to you. If you have the interest and time, maybe push your employer to get official help. It might also be worth asking the person one day if they know of all the help they can get as often people don't and feel bad about asking or admitting there is a problem.

You could always find a thing they disagree with, i.e. MPs pay, and say if you have the right to claim some help you should else the MP gets more pay or allowances (unused money).

Best wishes..

Andy Rylance
13th Mar 2008, 09:40
Thanks to all, people were asking how he gets to work - it is a 50/50% lift from his wife and doing the train + walk. I suppose it is worse of course when it is dark, which had been the problem in the evenings over the last months, but the lighter evenings should make things better.

He has virtually no sight in one eye and when reading a screen has to move close to it to read the text. Just out of interest, our company has suddenly issued a notice that "where you know that the person you are sending an email to is partially sighted, please increase the font size to help them read it...."

I wonder who has been reading this?!

flower
13th Mar 2008, 10:35
Luoto,
we have an allowance paid to people with disabilities ( I hate that word) to assist them with travel and if they require care as well they also get an allowance. It isn't a huge sum of money but like the Finnish allowance you mention it is non means tested . You have to however apply for it and it isn't always made well known to those working what they can get to assist them in living as independent a life as possible. It is a sum of money which can either be paid directly to you to use as you see fit, i.e. taxi fares or can be used for a car through the Motability scheme. So it is all there.

As for the large font business i think you will find the company is doing what they have to by law Andy.

gingernut
13th Mar 2008, 10:40
Be nice if we could reduce everything to monetary terms, but I suspect there's more to this debate- more about attitudes.

luoto
13th Mar 2008, 12:54
Flower: the Finnish system (for the personal travel) is probably more generous. In being brief I did not say that we pay the "equivalent" of a bus journey as the so called "excess" but then the taxi journey can be up to 50km (longer in exceptional approved cases).

i.e. a journey from a local airport to home would cost normally about euro 45, but I pay eur5.60 as the "excess."

There is a "handicap allowance" also ranging from nearly 82 euros a month up to 370 euros a month (three stages) dependent on your handicap level and various other allowances.

Transport to/from hospital and relevant sickness treatment is reimbursed by the social authorities. You pay an "excess" or 9.50 euros per journey and the state pays the rest. All travel then over a yearly limit of 630 euros approx is paid by the state.

A lot of paperwork and shuffling :)

Not a lot in English after a quick search but something here in case any one was vaguely interested in our system.

http://www.fpa.fi/in/internet/english.nsf/NET/081101144154EH?openDocument

Best..

luoto
13th Mar 2008, 13:11
Gingernut, what do you mean exactly ?

airship
13th Mar 2008, 15:16
Naughty Andy! Why didn't you tell us we were talking about David Blunkett (ex. Home Secretary)?! That explains why noone wants to give him a lift...?! :uhoh: