VIP seeks driversPublished 6:05pm Saturday, December 29, 2012
Getting in the car to travel across the state or even to make a quick trip around town to run errands may be a skill that Dallas County residents are taking for granted. According to William Bowman, CEO of Visually Impaired People, there are “several hundred people across Dallas County that are having severe enough problems with their vision that they have to depend on someone to take them somewhere.”
“I’m always in need of a driver,” he said. “For me to get around I have to have somebody physically pick me up in my vehicle and take me where I need to go.”
Bowman said that while Dallas County does have options for public transportation, he noted it only does certain things at certain times; meaning hundreds are in need of a driver.
“There is a need for people to have a driver to take them places. There is a need for people to have some kind of morals and to give dignity to those who don’t have the opportunity to go to different things,” Bowman said. “Your vision shouldn’t limit you to what you do, but it still is one of those social stigmas where people just take what they do for granted and don’t realize that there are other people out there who are needing and wanting to do the same thing but can’t get there because they can’t get there on their own.”
As the leader of VIP, Bowman said others are not as vocal as he is and may be afraid to ask for help.
“Some people have the attitude, ‘Well if I do it one time, I’m going to have to do it all the time, and I don’t want to be bothered all the time.’ What the situation is if you’re visually impaired and your vision is a certain level, some people shun you because they feel like you’re extra care that they don’t want to be responsible for. It happens to elderly people, it happens to younger people,” Bowman said. “People have all these social stereotypes that they have about blind and visually impaired people.”
But Bowman said needing a driver could create a job for someone and said he’s always looking for safe drivers with a clean background.
“If I don’t have a certain person who can take me where I need to go, then I just don’t go. And that means that I miss out on an activity. And that’s not fun, you don’t want to miss out on anything,” Bowman said. “We need to educate people that visually impaired people like to go on dates, they like to go to the movies, to dinner with a friend or lunch with a friend like everybody else does. There’s a lot of things going on, I have to plan a month in advance for myself, and I’m sure [there are] a lot of people out there like that too.”
For more information on VIP or on becoming a driver call 334-354-4015.