The other day, we drove through the McDonald’s drive-through to pick up a quick breakfast on the way to an appointment. As we sat by the window waiting to pay for our food, a sign caught my eye. It said, “Braille menus and picture menus available.” At first, I thought, that’s really nice. Then the whole situation struck me as funny. In the first place, if you were blind, how would you be able to read the sign to know that Braille menus were available? Furthermore, why would the sign be posted at the drive-through, when, presumably, a blind person should not be driving? (Yeah, yeah, a sighted driver could tell them. Don’t point out logic to me.) On top of that, if a person couldn’t read, how could they read the sign saying picture menus were available?
This reminded me of a humorous situation that happened a few years ago when I was a puppy raiser for Southeastern Guide Dogs. Puppy raisers take their puppies into as many places as possible to acclimate them to all kinds of situations and experiences. Once a month, the puppy raisers in the Panhandle area met for training and exposure outings. When it was my turn to plan an outing, I arranged for the group to eat lunch at a local restaurant with our dogs. Of course, I called ahead to make sure the restaurant was willing to accommodate a dozen people with guide-dog puppies. After spending the morning taking the puppies on a bus ride and then through a horse stable, we converged on the restaurant, where the nice hostess seated us with our dogs at a couple of tables out of the way. Then—apparently, my communication to the manager had not been quite clear—she handed us all menus in Braille!
Another time, my husband and I were sitting in Arby’s when a woman drove up and walked in with her service chi-hua-hua under her arm. (This was back in the day before every animal was deemed a service animal.)
A little girl sitting by the door commented, “Look, Mommy! Look at that little seeing-eye dog!”
Her statement was so cute and innocent, but it brought a chuckle to me as I visualized that dog directing the lady on how to maneuver her car through traffic without the benefit of seeing where she was going. Did the dog bark once for “hit the gas” and twice for “hit the brakes?” The whole scenario was just too much for my satirical little brain to let go. But, then again, I’ve witnessed some drivers who would probably do better with a guide-dog. Maybe it could slap the phone out of their hand when they’re texting.