Amidst Prejudice And Ignorance, A KL Cabbie Offers To Fetch Blind People With Guide Dogs

In our FEEL GOOD FRIDAY column this week, we feature the story of a taxi driver who happens to be a visionary, believing that every religion in this world teaches us to be kind to everyone, in any condition, including animals.

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Meet Mohd Kamil Affendy Hashim, affectionately known as Eddie

Mohd Kamil Affendy Hashim standing alongside the cab he drives

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32 years of age, by profession Eddie is a taxi driver and believes there is nothing wrong in helping those in need. Recently, he wrote on Facebook offering a ride to 'any blind man with a guide dog.'

I’m Malay and a Muslim. A taxi driver in KL. I stay in Setapak. I support guide dogs. Any blind man with a guide dog who needs a ride, their family and friends can always SMS or WhatsApp me,” Eddie posted on the Social Network.

Speaking to The Ant Daily with whom Eddie shared his views regarding the role guide dogs play in blind peoples lives, he says:

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“These people depend on their guide dogs to do a variety of things, making it possible for the dog’s owner to live a more independent and self-sufficient life, such as, to travel and/or to perform tasks which would otherwise not be possible.”

Eddie's first encounter with dogs took place some two years ago. A speeding car had hit and run a street dog. Eddie, who witnessed the accident, stopped his cab and rushed to help the helpless animal who was left to die in the middle of the road.

According to Eddie, the dog was badly injured and he just couldn’t bear to leave it there to die or get struck down by other cars that was zooming passed by him. “I was at a loss. I didn’t know what to do, I just knew that I couldn’t just abandon an injured creature,” he added.

Without giving it a thought, Eddie took his shirt off and attempted to approach the seriously injured dog. “At first it growled at me. I was hesitant but I persisted to approach it slowly. I kept telling it that I was just trying to help and I was flabbergasted,” he said.

After that incident, Eddie realised that dogs are no different than us. They, too, are living beings, one with feelings and emotions.

“If you are a righteous human being, you would never cause harm to another living thing. The Almighty created everything in this world, so who are we to decide what deserve to live and what does not?”

“God created everything in this world for a reason, including us. So, before you start judging and deciding what is good and what is not, you better ask yourself this: Are you a good person? If you say yes, then start treating all of God’s creature with kindness and compassion, for no religion teaches hate nor cruelty,” Eddie concluded.

Eddie says he was inspired to post his phone number on Facebook alongside his message after watching a short film called 'Are You Blind? The Embarrassing Truth About Malaysians'

Stevens Chan with his guide dog, who is also Malaysia's first guide dog.

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A moving 15-minute film, "Are You Blind?" highlights the plight of blind people moving about in Kuala Lumpur.

Directed by Jason Lim, it relates how sight-impaired businessman Stevens Chan and his seeing eye dog Lashawn were always chased out of shopping malls and prevented from boarding taxis and buses.

Founder and CEO of the Malaysian chapter of social business enterprise 'Dialogue in the Dark', Stevens, who starred in the short film, said hearing of such support is always very encouraging

“I ‘saw’ his Facebook comment with the text-to-voice software and I was touched at his reaction but it is too bad that I haven’t gotten in touch with him yet. “It is very nice that someone is offering his service to ferry people with guide dogs,” said the star of the video that has gone viral, “Are You Blind?”.

He lost his sight to glaucoma seven years ago. He said he hoped to meet Eddie upon his return from an international conference.

Stevens, who is also founder of Dialogue in the Dark Malaysia, believed that with Mohd Kamil boldly stepping forward, others may join in. “All it takes is some support and a momentum can be created,” he said.

Now, Eddie's Facebook message has won over thousands of hearts, with netizens finding it heart-warming and supporting him

“I got several calls after declaring I support any person using guide dogs and thankfully those who called had positive things to say,” said the 32-year-old. “People need to understand there are many ways to handle dogs rather than running away from them.”

Other people who saw his pledge were moved and supported his comments. Facebook user Dimple Gamgee commented that he gave hope to other people. “I have to salute you sir. You have shown there is hope in humanity after all. May God Bless you with all the good things this world can offer,” he posted. Other Facebook users like Mike Yeap and Christian Trevor also applauded Eddie’s pledge.

“Let’s give him A LOT of business... All call him for taxi ride,” commented Liew Chee Khoi. Another, Zainal Nizar posted “God bless you, brother”, while Jayanathan Jayabalan noted “Ini baru 1Malaysia (Now this is 1Malaysia).”

For those who might be wondering, no, there is no policy stating a taxi driver cannot carry animals, and Eddie has even consulted other Muslim taxi drivers regarding this matter

“I was initially worried what the community will say if they found out. So I kept quiet about what I did. But I believe there is nothing wrong to help those in need.”

Land Public Transport Commission chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar previously said there should not be a problem allowing guide dogs to assist the disabled in using public transportation, as well as in public places. “Most of the other Muslim taxi drivers I talked to were also receptive to ferrying animals including dogs but they rarely talk about it fearing negative reaction from the community,” Mohd Kamil said.

Eddie can be reached at 012 396 0821. In the meantime, watch the short film 'Are You Blind?' that inspired him here:

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