This article appeared in the November 01, 2018 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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How helping people who blind helped me to see better

Jacob Turcotte/Staff
Noelle Swan
Deputy Daily Editor

“Someone needs your help.”

The text alert came on a particularly busy Monday morning.

“A blind or visually impaired person is calling for help,” the message continued.

I accepted the call and was instantaneously transported into a stranger’s living room.

He asked me to read the amounts on some checks he was holding up in front of the camera on his phone. The whole exchange took about 20 seconds. But the satisfaction of being able to help someone in need has lasted all week.

For the past year, I’ve been receiving these calls periodically through an app that connects sighted volunteers with users who need a quick set of eyes. The calls are rare. And with 1.7 million volunteers helping 100,000 users, I know that if I can’t answer, someone else will. But I always try.

I’ve helped people microwave frozen meals, start their laundry, and avoid fashion faux pas. But my favorite call came from a man who asked me what his dog looks like because he wanted to know how other people perceive his furry friend.

I’ve discovered that I get as much out of these calls as the people asking for help. Because they help me to see, too – to see from someone else’s perspective. At a time when so much of our lives is curated to fit our particular lens that’s a valuable commodity.

Now onto our five stories for today, delving into the roots of compassion, the limitations of tribalism, and the wonders of an ever-changing universe.

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This article appeared in the November 01, 2018 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 11/01 edition