Blind Fuel For Thought

                             By Ron Kassen

          To understand this  story, you must understand  the passengers in
          the  1989 Plymouth  Voyager that  my wife  and I  bought  and had
          modified in 1990.   My wife is  confined to a wheelchair,  as she
          has  muscular dystrophy.   She can drive,  but the van  had to be
          equipped with a  wheelchair lift and special 6-way  power seat so
          the she could transfer from her  chair to the drivers seat.   She
          actually  had two  chairs (an  electric powered  one so  that she
          could get around in accessible areas, and a manual or non-powered
          one for  navigating areas with  stairs and other obstacles).   On
          March 19, 1991,  Valerie (my wife), Karen  (another blind friend)
          and I (blind since birth) loaded into the car to make the 4+ hour
          trip from  Warrensburg, MO  to Omaha,  NE.   We would  stay at  a
          friend's  house for the weekend, then I  would spend my Monday at
          Mutual of Omaha  for a second interview trying to  get a computer
          programmer's job.  The trip to Omaha was uneventful.  Valerie was
          not  familiar  with  the  area,   but  we  had  been  given  good
          directions.  We were  instructed that if we needed  fuel, to stop
          at  an amoco  station on the  west end  of town,  and we  did so.
          Valerie pulled up  to a self-service pump,  I got out of  the car
          and filled the tank.  Now remember,  we have two blind people and
          one person who  can not walk.   So Valerie gave me  directions on
          how to  get from the  car to the  door to go  pay, and I  did so.
          However, the  guy behind the counter  was not so  bright I guess,
          and the  following conversation ensued.  him.  "Can I  help you?"
          Me.   "I need to pay  for gas, and I  need a map of  Omaha". Him.
          "What?" Me.  "I need to pay for gas, and I need  a map of Omaha".
          Him.  "We don't have a map of Omaha".  Me.  "You don't have a map
          of  Omaha"?  Him.   "We  have a map  of the Omaha  Counsel Bluffs
          area."  Me.  "Does it have the city streets of Omaha on it?" Him.
          "Yes." Me.   "Then can you get me a map of Omaha?" Him.  "They're
          over their on that wall". Me.   "Would you please go and get me a
          map of Omaha"?  He then retrieved a  map from the display  on the
          wall, I paid for Fuel and we left.
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