My name is Sam and I catch a lot of Ubers. 

As a person who works on a few different TV shows, I have to travel to studios in strange locations all across Auckland. Driving is off the cards for me since I was diagnosed with optic neuritis. I lost most of the vision in my left eye and a bit of the central vision in my right eye. Originally from Christchurch, I have now literally become a one-eyed Cantabrian. 

I like to chat with my Uber drivers if they’re up for it. And often my vision loss comes into the conversation. And more often than not, the drivers will ask the same follow-up question: “have you tried wearing glasses?” 

The idea that I hadn’t realized a pair of glasses could fix my damaged optic nerve makes me laugh. What a strange suggestion to give someone when you find out they have a condition. It’s like seeing someone with a broken tibia sticking out of their leg and asking them if they’ve tried wearing socks. You’ve got a headache – have you tried wearing a hat? Very funny. 

And because I am a silly person who likes to push social boundaries, I like to have fun with it.

I’ve told one of my diagnostic Uber drivers that I do wear glasses, but I put the darn things down somewhere and can no longer find them due to my pesky blindness.  

I’ve been tempted to agree with them, saying that yes my blindness could be cured by glasses, but I can’t wear them because I’m not a freakin’ nerd. This wouldn’t work. I clearly am a freakin’ nerd – and proud of it!  

Although their solution is even more short-sighted than I am, I appreciate the concern and consideration from my Uber drivers. They’re looking out for their fellow man. Good on them. 

I’ve decided next time I’m asked I’m going to indulge them. I’ll instruct the driver to quickly cancel the trip and swiftly take me straight to the nearest SpecSavers. 


Sam Smith is a comedian, writer, and author living with low vision and MS. He writes for 7 Days, and Taskmaster among others, and is the audience warm-up act for most NZ television shows.