Money for the Blind

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

A federal judge ruled last week that the United States discriminates against blind people because they can't distinguish between our paper money by touch. But not all blind people are looking for change.
"I'll ask her ma'am, could you tell me which bill is on top?"
In today's world, relying on the kindness of strangers has become almost an old fashioned notion. But for the visually impaired, it's part of every day life.
John Tyler, a legally blind Rockford resident, says, "You have to count on the honesty of people and I'd say 95 percent of people, no I'll go better, 97 percent will give you the right bill."
But make no mistake, Tyler has his systems. When he gets change, he always has a sighted friend make sure that he got the right bills back.
"That means I'm coming to see you later if it's not a 20 and it's only a 10."
Tyler folds all his bills a certain way so he knows which denomination he's holding. He doesn't feel discriminated against and he doesn't want bills to change.
He says, "It would be more confusing to change it now for all the people that have been blind for the last 30, 40, 50 years. They've gotten accustomed to what they got."
Rockford's Center for Sight and Hearing teaches blind people how to deal with money. The president, Diane Jones says changing our bills could make life easier for the blind.
"I think it's a good thing because for as long as I can remember the blind have had to rely upon the kindness of strangers," says Jones
That old-fashioned notion is just how John Tyler likes things.
The judge who ruled in the case gave the government 30 days to come up with a fix.
It would cost around $500 million to print bills in different sizes and $46 million to add embossed features.


23 WIFR 2523 North Meridian Road Rockford, IL. 61101 Business: 815-987-5300 Fax: 815-965-0981 News: 815-987-5330 Fax: 815-987-5333
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 4878666 - wifr.com/a?a=4878666