Letter to the Editor: Not confronting disability alone

Just over a month ago, I was having a pretty awesome day. As I was leaving Zumberge to head to Spanish, I couldn’t help but try and spread my cheer to those I passed. One young girl in particular looked as though she needed some cheer so, without hesitation, I greeted her with a chipper “Hi!”

Anticipating an equally chipper response, I was saddened to hear nothing more than a soft grumble followed by an “Eh. I’m okay.” When I asked why she was just okay on a gorgeous day, this young woman admitted to me she was lost and needed to find her way to North C. Quickly reviewing my mental campus map, I told her Mackinac was on the way to North C and I would gladly walk with her and help her find her way. As we walked, we discussed things from different organizations to classes we hoped to take to the places we want to live next year.

We passed Mackinac and yet I didn’t leave her side. We continued our conversation all the way to her dorm where, sadly, I realized I was two minutes away from being late to class. Asking her name, she smiled and told me Kristin. We parted ways and, when I turned to walk away, I noticed a hoard of students staring.

I didn’t understand why until I saw one of them mimicking the motion of the white cane Kristin uses to see because, well, she is blind. As the daughter of a blind man, I can honestly say that her white cane did not even register in my mind until it was pointed out by others. The only thing that registered in my mind about Kristin was that she was a lost freshman and I was a sophomore who could help.

I have spoken with Kristin only once since our encounter that day. And though I know she cannot read this piece, I cannot help but hope someone shares this with her. Because, even though she may not remember me, Kristin impacted my life that day. She not only brought home the fact that my father’s blindness is not something I need to deal with alone but she also, for the first time in many years, allowed me to feel good about myself. So, Kristin who lives in North C, I owe you.

Jessica Wehby

GVSU sophomore

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