Deaf-blind “inventor” pranks distracted phone-walkers in NYC
We sent Adriana (a deaf-blind educator at HKNC) and Anthony (a comedian/pitchman) to play a prank on some sighted and hearing New Yorkers to remind them to look up from their phones and be more present in the moment. What we discovered was a city filled with distracted walkers, completely unaware of what was happening in the world around them.
For Helen Keller National Center’s 50th Anniversary, we’re reminding an increasingly digital and distracted world of the simple power of human connection. Help us continue our work in connecting the deaf-blind community to the world around them by remembering to stay connected to yours.
Authorized by an Act of Congress in 1967, HKNC is the only organization of its kind—providing training and resources exclusively to people age 16 and over who have combined vision and hearing loss.
Deaf-Blind “inventor” pranks distracted phone-walkers in NYC
Announcer: At Helen Keller National Center, we help the deaf-blind community better connect with the world around them. But recently the world has become a little distracted.
Images: Images of New Yorkers walking, looking at their phones and bumping into things.
Announcer: To find out how oblivious many of us have become, we sent a team to prank some hearing and sighted New Yorkers.
Anthony (a comedian/pitchman): Hi, anybody interested in this cane, we got a cane EyePhone holder. Sir do you want to talk about our cane? No. We’re trying to find some people here, but they’re looking at their phones. Hey you, what’s going on with your phone here? This is the EyePhone walking cane. It allows you to look at your phone, your device, whatever you have and then be aware of the surroundings. You seem like a professional phone person, you still have earphones in despite talking to me right now.
Adriana (a deaf-blind educator at HKNC): So I’m deaf-blind, so I’m sure that you realize that I miss a lot of what’s going on the world.
Anthony to Phone-walker 1: Do you ever look at your phone and walk at the same time? Usually a no-no. right?
Phone-walker 2: I try to pay attention to what’s going on around me while I’m doing it.
Anthony: But wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to pay attention to what’s going on around you?
Adriana: So I miss everything in my world, I have to use a cane to travel, for you, you can do the same thing that’s super cool right?
Anthony (talking to various phone-walkers): Still be safe, and make sure you’re not walking down a manhole. Or there’s like a giant, you know how people get captured in nets? I’m worried about you, personally.
Adriana: Yes, it’s for safety.
Anthony: Safety. Absolutely for safety.
Anthony: That’s exactly how it works. No, no, don’t do that. You almost hit that woman.
That helps you stay locked into your phone and basically miss the world around you, how does that sound? Don’t you like looking at your phone, isn’t everyone obsessed with their phones these days?
Phone-walkers 3: Yeah, but there are beautiful people all around you.
Anthony: Yeah, but then you bump into beautiful people all around you all the time, don’t you?
Adriana: The cane will help you, right?
Anthony (giving the cane for the phone-walker to try): See. Give it a walk, yeah use that, oh my goodness.
Anthony (walking with the cane): I’m looking at my photos. Hey, that’s a selfie I took of me, I’m obsessed with myself.
Phone-walker 5: This would be good for blogging,
Anthony: For what?
Phone-walker 5: Blogging
Anthony: What’s that?
Phone-walker 6: But you’re not blind?
Anthony: No, I’m not blind, I’m not blind, but I have a phone.
Phone-walker 6: Okay.
Announcer: For our 50th anniversary, help us continue to support the deaf-blind community in connecting to their world by remembering to stay connected to yours.