A blind former doctor has strapped a camera to his GUIDE DOG to capture the abuse he gets from commuters during rush hour.
Amit Patel, who lost his sight three years ago, says he is constantly barged and pushed out of the way as he navigates around the trains and buses of London.
The 37-year-old says other travellers step over guide dog Kika and even hit her with umbrellas to get her to move out of the way on escalators.
Former A&E doctor Amit, who was working as a locum at various hospitals around London when he started losing his sight, has even been told to apologise for being in the way and ignored by train station staff.
The father-of-one decided to attach a GoPro camera to Kika’s back to record the public’s reactions, which his wife Seema reviews at the end of the day, and tweets about the pair’s travels around the capital.
Amit said: “It all started when people barged me out of the way, they hit her with umbrellas, bags, I get shoulder charged every day and when my wife look back at the footage he can see they have done it deliberately.
“They have loads of space to get past but they seem to think it is fun to barge into a blind person.
“Kika always sits to my left hand side so we often block the escalator and people will hit her with bags and umbrellas to get her to move out of the way.
“The worst part is the tutting and negative comments behind me. People are so rude and arrogant and assume they can do whatever they want.
“One lady even said I should apologise to the people behind her for holding them up. I asked her if I should apologise for being blind and she said ‘yes’.
“Sometimes I wonder who is the blind person when there are people glued to their mobile phones.
“It really scares Kika sometimes, I can feel how upset she gets and when I get upset she senses it as well and she won’t go on the escalators for a few days.”
Amit travels nearly every day on the train network, often using Southeastern trains to go to London Bridge, then the Northern and Jubilee tube lines for onward journeys.
But he says he has been ignored by train staff when he is in unfamiliar surroundings.
He said: “People just don’t care, they assume I’m going to take up the whole carriage.
“Sometimes I get a train with my four-month old son and I say quite loudly ‘Kika, find me a seat’ but no-one budges.
“When my wife reviewed a piece of footage once a lady was sitting on a seat and has her shopping on the one next to her.
“I started to record it to show what I go through every day. Sometimes the only way I get a seat is to scratch Kika behind the ears so she shakes a little – no one likes a wet dog.
“It makes it so much harder than it needs to be.
“There are taxi drivers who will see you and won’t stop, sometimes train staff will say they didn’t see me when they clearly did.
“People even walk right up to me but then swerve at the last minute, they also come up to Kika and touch her and distract her while she is walking, which puts her off.
“Losing my sight is very lonely, if I’m travelling by public transport I’m sometimes like a scared little boy sat in the corner.”
Amit even says Kika saved his life when a car jumped a red light at a crossing and got between him and the car.
The dad-of-one added: “We were in Lewisham when a car jumped the lights.
“She saw the car and she got in front of me and took the hit – the car grazed her nose. It was three days before she could work again.
“She’s there for me and looks after me, sometimes it’s a bit of give and take.”
Amit got Kika in November 2014 and after four months training moved to New Eltham in south east London because it was a more dog-friendly environment.
Kika is one of only five per cent of guide dogs that are trained to take their owner on an escalator.
Amit lost his sight three years ago after undergoing six cornea transplants in Britain and two in the US to correct a simple condition called keratoconus, when he was in his early 20s.
He discovered he suffered from the condition, which changes the shape of the cornea, during his final year of medical school by his flatmate who was a student optician.
After seeming to correct his blurry vision for around nine months, each transplant began to be rejected by his body.
The former University College Hospital doctor said: “I’ve lost the sight completely in my right eye and my left has nearly gone, it has floaters all around it – it’s like a lava lamp.
“It causes me so much pain, it’s basically it’s just about pain management, it feels like someone is rubbing chilli in my eyes.
“People assume that if you lose your sight that’s it, there’s no pain, but it’s excruciating.
“My other senses have increased though, my smell, hearing and touch.
Amit now volunteers for RNIB, Action for Blind People and Guide Dogs for the Blind to help coach new guide dog users.