I have been blind since 2003. I am 39 years old. I am the owner of a local skateboard, snowboard, and ski shop in Maryland. Here is our website. My nephew will be reading questions and typing my responses for me. If we disappear for a while its due to a customer, otherwise we will answer as many questions as possible. Feel free to ask questions regarding blindness or the business/running a business.

EDIT: I also go snowboarding here is go-pro footage a friend took of me

EDIT 2: Here is a wikipedia page on what caused my blindness.

EDIT 3: Here is Me with a shop skateboard

EDIT 4: Gonna wrap this up gonna finish what we have and anything submitted after 2:00 EST Probably will not get answered.

EDIT 5: If you guys leave questions we may get around to answering them also later on my nephew will go through and take every question and answer and edit the post with them so they are all in one easy to find place since the same questions keep getting asked.

EDIT 6: If you guys want to ask my nephew any questions about living with a blind person or working for a blind person feel free to leave a question for him.

Comments: 472 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

I_CAPE_RUNTS90 karma

When you sleep, do you have sight in your dreams?

Board-At-Work123 karma

Yes

I_CAPE_RUNTS49 karma

Have you had dreams where you are blind? If so, how often?

Board-At-Work86 karma

I don't think iv'e ever had a dream where i was blind

benzilla0420 karma

Do you lucid dream? If not, i think you should

/r/LucidDreaming

Board-At-Work28 karma

I think i have sometimes, not 100% certain.

POTATO_IN_MY_DINNER17 karma

Does it ever get you down? Personally I don't think I'd manage well mentally if I lost my sight.

Board-At-Work31 karma

Maybe some days but you learn to live with it.

thombudsman74 karma

How does being blind limit your role in the business?

Board-At-Work87 karma

We've come up with ways to work around it for the most part, the biggest thing being that we always have to have another employee here at times to help ring up customers and check stock in the back room

coupochingo22 karma

Where did the idea of a board shop come from if you had not riden before?

Board-At-Work36 karma

I had snowboarded since i became blind and skateboards went well with snowboards

chenone61 karma

I read the title as; "I'm a small blind business owner"

Question: What is your height?

Board-At-Work56 karma

5'6"

TheRollingStoned2254 karma

HI! do you ever play pranks on people with your blindness?

Board-At-Work83 karma

Yes most definitely.

Formatted18 karma

Such as? Thanks for the doing the AMA.

Board-At-Work93 karma

I worked with a guy who was convinced i could smell the color of his underwear.

colewilco27 karma

Wait, what?

Board-At-Work189 karma

This guy always would bend over and his underwear would show so another co-worker would tell me what they looked like then i would deeply inhale and say smells like red plaid for example.

thelick53 karma

How do you know if people walk out with what the're paying for?

Board-At-Work79 karma

We always have another employee in to help ring up customers, also we have security cameras in the place so even if you try we will know what you look like. So in short, we always have someone else in, currently its my nephew who is helping with this AMA

pjy0435 karma

Use LookTel Money Reader to verify what you got handed back

Board-At-Work46 karma

That is indeed the app i use, however usually someone else is working the register.

Blopz1434 karma

I gotta say... Bravo nephew... I get frustrated helping my mom on the computer... And she isn't even blind. No Offense

Board-At-Work52 karma

Nephew here, im a regular redditor and am basically just reading off the screen and typing for him so its not bad.

Fydun43 karma

What's it like being blind? Do you see only black, like your eyes are always closed?

Board-At-Work77 karma

I see black all the time i don't get any light. There's maybe vague outlines of things i think i see based on memory.

Ikea_Meatballs21 karma

how do you know what black is? maybe you actually see purple?

Board-At-Work172 karma

I can remember the colors so i'm 99% sure it's black

Ikea_Meatballs32 karma

cool! cool username too

Board-At-Work94 karma

Thanks, its the name of our shop!

PorcineLogic16 karma

There's maybe vague outlines of things i think i see based on memory.

Do you actually get these in what you consider to be your sense of vision? Or are the outlines in your "mind's eye," created from the visual memories from before you went blind?

Board-At-Work17 karma

More of the Mind's eye, since i only see pitch black

drabiter34 karma

Not related to the shop, do you have any gadget/tools that help you?

Board-At-Work85 karma

On the Computer i have a program called JAWS which reads out on screen text, My iPhone has apps that identify money and that can read bar-codes to tell me what items are. I have a camera that takes pictures of typed documents and reads them out. If you kinda wanna know what its like you could enable voice-over on your phone then try and navigate with your eyes closed.

asianwaste19 karma

I had to develop sites for JAWS accessibility. I'm not blind but I try to emulate the experience when testing to see if the site is usable with it. I find it to be pretty cumbersome and imperfect. There's room for improvement for both developers and users.

That said, what accessibility tools do you wish existed by now?

Board-At-Work47 karma

The electronic eye that taps into your brain so i could see

Ramuh8 karma

Do you think it would be easier if bills were different sizes, so you would not need an app for it, or can you distinguish bills by feeling?

Board-At-Work19 karma

You can't do it by feel, unless you were to fold them interesting ways, It may be easier if they were different sizes.

zexez35 karma

Here in Canada in the top left of every bill there are imprinted dots you can feel that tell you which bill is what

Board-At-Work83 karma

Yea its just the US that sucks

platinum-luna30 karma

Another blind redditor here. I don't have any questions but I figured I'd give this link to Chrome Vox, a screen reader you can use with Google Chrome to get on inaccessible sites like Reddit! I use Voice Over mostly, but there are some websites that are completely inaccessible to screen readers. My boyfriend told me about the free Chrome download so I've been sharing it with all my blind friends.

Board-At-Work8 karma

Will check it out for sure

_BLOOP24 karma

By any chance did you take the go-pro footage at liberty ski mountain

Board-At-Work20 karma

Yes I did!

velocacaptor3 karma

In Maryland? If so, where is your shop located?

Board-At-Work6 karma

In Gambrills off of route 3

BlondishYataghan16 karma

Have you been blind from birth or was the cause a degenerative eye condition or an accident of some sort?

Board-At-Work34 karma

A Degenerative eye condition associated with my diabetes.

BlondishYataghan15 karma

I'm sorry to hear that. When did you first start to notice a loss of vision?

My mom is blind and we don't know anyone other than her that is so it's nice to get information where I can. I have lots of questions if you don't mind :)

Board-At-Work25 karma

Sure bring the questions.

I started to notice probably in September of 2001, I started to see blood in my eye.

BlondishYataghan16 karma

Is it constricting or just all gradually deteriorating? How much can you see now?

Board-At-Work20 karma

Mine gradually deteriorated, I', at the point where i don't think i could get anymore blind.

agentbad5 karma

Was the blindness caused by your diabetes being out of control or undiagnosed?

Board-At-Work12 karma

out of control

Frostycheese12312 karma

If you had your sight back for just one day, where would you and what would you want to see?

Board-At-Work37 karma

I would kinda like to go scuba diving in the great barrier reef. I think that would be a cool experience.

Zanowin12 karma

How easy/hard was it to learn to deal with blindness?

And the most important question of all:
Seeing eye dog or seeing eye horse

Board-At-Work35 karma

Probably the dog because the horse makes a bigger mess

Board-At-Work23 karma

It was kinda hard, you have to completely change your lifestyle. You become more dependent on others and have to relearn how to read and such.

kbryan111112 karma

Why do you wear goggles when you snowboard?

Board-At-Work24 karma

Mostly to keep things out of my eyes or if its windy.

LouQuacious11 karma

Have you ever taken psychedelics? If so did you "see" anything?

Board-At-Work12 karma

Nope have not.

KIM_DONG_EUN10 karma

How did you start your business? After you had the idea, what did you have to do to get the ball rolling?

Board-At-Work23 karma

We took the idea and had to apply for a federal ID number after deicded whether we wanted to be a sole proprietor, llc and what not. Finding funding was the biggest part. We got our business plan together, then found a lease space. Once we had a space we ordered stock then opened on September 26th 2012 and now we are here.

HiG33k8 karma

"We"'s can't be a sole proprietor. What did your business become legally? A partnership or an LLC?

Board-At-Work14 karma

We became a Corporation.

clayj98 karma

Where do you see yourself and your business in 5 or 10 years time? Much respect though for not giving up and still doing things anyone else can!

Board-At-Work4 karma

I'd like to still hopefully business in five years, i don't really know i haven't given it too much thought.

sonicspeed128 karma

I tip my hat to you. I run a small business and I am not blind and it is very hard. I cannot imagine running one on your own, blind non the less.
Question. How do you know your marketing is effective if you cannot see it? Also (if its not to personal) what made you blind?

Board-At-Work11 karma

I ask my customers what brought them too me then i know what works.

Here's a wikipedia article on the thing that made me blind

aggierogue38 karma

What is the extent of your blindness?

Do you have to explain that you are blind to customers often?

Board-At-Work14 karma

Everything is pitch black. I don't have to 80% of the time people have no idea

Highwayman17 karma

"Board At Work", nice one.

What are the ups and downs of your business? What was the biggest lesson you learned during your career?

Board-At-Work11 karma

Don't overbuy. Don't get more stock than you can sell.

NattyPeanutButter3 karma

Loving the Heiniken layout too. Did you come up with this yourself or did someone else at the shop design it?

Board-At-Work9 karma

We had someone who is no longer with us design it

Board-At-Work9 karma

We had someone who is no longer with us design it

ausgezeichnet2226 karma

The longer you're blind, do your thoughts and images in your mind change over time? Like do you have a more abstract view of daily things, ie trees or anything.

Board-At-Work8 karma

No I don't really think so.

Dunknugget6 karma

have you ever had a situation where a employee has tried to take advantage of your handicap either financially or personally?

Board-At-Work14 karma

No most of the people hired are people i know and trust.

Radiant_Radius6 karma

You should read "The Mind's Eye" by Oliver Sacks. It's a collection of case studies involving neuroscience and vision. It's amazing how different people with vision problems represent the world in their minds.

Do you think you've retained a visual mental picture of the world around you, like for navigating your house and thinking about the people in your life? Or have you stopped thinking about the world in visual terms and come up with a new mental representation?

Board-At-Work8 karma

Well I didn't have a visual record of where i live now other than a general of the area. I have some past representation of what i remember and have to make up new representations based on description for new things.

iMaths6 karma

If I cover my eyes you can't see me

Board-At-Work85 karma

ok

LitAFartOnce5 karma

Do you have a heavy northern accent? If so, how well does the software and iPhone apps handle it? Oh, and I love the name of the business!

Board-At-Work9 karma

No i don't think i have a heavy northern accent, the apps and such handle my accent if i have one just fine.

MidniteReturns5 karma

Has becoming blind put other problems into perspective? And has being blind affected you positively in anyway? Like with your attitude or thoughts.

Board-At-Work44 karma

I guess, im not real concerned about car insurance and i save a ton on lightbulbs.

dsll10 karma

Is your house .. completely dark all the time?

Board-At-Work14 karma

No haha the lightbulbs was a joke, but i live with my girlfriend so its not dark all the time.

fleeceblanket5 karma

What's your main form of entertainment? Do you own a tv or computer at home?

Board-At-Work33 karma

Movies for the most part. Thevoicesinmyhead

pjy045 karma

Have you heard of LookTel Money Reader? It's an iOS app to help the blind identify currency using your phones camera

Board-At-Work11 karma

I have, that is in fact the app that i use!

nagasadow914 karma

Since no one has asked the obligatory question I will:

Would You Rather Fight a Horse-Sized Duck or a Hundred Duck-Sized Horses?

Board-At-Work48 karma

I would fight 100 duck sized horses using a bushhog.

khaleesi_4 karma

What happens if you lose something? How do you go about finding it?

Board-At-Work5 karma

Usually i kinda feel around for it. if ive dropped something ill make circular motions with my foot to feel around for it.

jaypinon3 karma

[deleted]

Board-At-Work6 karma

We used intuit website, It's pretty simple and has attracted a number of people to the store.

Thejudokid3 karma

After losing sight did your other senses become better? Can you smell trouble coming in your shop?

Board-At-Work20 karma

Yes my other sense became better, as far as smelling trouble coming in i can usually smell when i'm in trouble but not before

KOSKESH_3 karma

[deleted]

Board-At-Work6 karma

Very little, I've graduated high school, I recommend going to college, i also went to a school for the blind.

BBQTofuNachos3 karma

"Looking back", is there anything you could have done to avoid your present vision loss?

Board-At-Work16 karma

Yes, not ignoring diabetes for 12 years.

grant10233 karma

Can you ride a skateboard?

Board-At-Work3 karma

Not well

tehpokernoob3 karma

This question might sound like a joke but I am dead serious I really want to know...... How do you know when you are done wiping?!

I asked reddit before but no blind people responded!!!! I'm actually way too excited to possibly have this answered!

Board-At-Work3 karma

I have a wiping buddy who checks me, when my finger tastes clean. when it feels dry in all seriousness

St1ffM1st3r3 karma

Since being blind, what has been your biggest success? Starting the business or was it something else???

Board-At-Work39 karma

My biggest success would probably never having to be the designated driver. I guess it was learning to snowboard.

FiscalYam3 karma

I've always wondered this, but what do you see? As opposed to closing your eyes with sight and simply seeing black, is that the same as what you see? I've been wondering this for ages...

Board-At-Work7 karma

Earlier i sorta explained this, its pitch black and then vague outlines of things i think i see based on memory

FiscalYam2 karma

Interesting, actually! Thanks, my curiousity is resolved!

Board-At-Work3 karma

Anytime pal. My nephew who is a regular redditor who is helping me with this thought people would be interested so i obliged.

JibFlank3 karma

Why are you closed Mondays?

Board-At-Work43 karma

Because I want a day off

joevw0073 karma

do people steal shit right infront of you off your own desk and then later on you dont know who it was?

Board-At-Work5 karma

Not typically. I usually have someone trustworthy with me at all times. sometimes something will get misplaced but otherwise no.

joevw0072 karma

if i worked for you i would have to play some pranks on my boss. like put a banana where the phone is and shit. anyone ever done that? you would have to laugh

Board-At-Work6 karma

I have had people mess with me, yes i did laugh.

waitwhatdoido2 karma

How hard is it to tie ur shoe laces, or are u a loafers man know?

Board-At-Work17 karma

I don't have an issue tying my shoes, i just wear mostly slip-ons because i'm lazy.

arceus123452 karma

Who is more pro-small business in your opinion, Democrats or Republicans? Who supports you more?

Board-At-Work14 karma

Honestly i have no idea.

jakevincent19962 karma

your inspiring, sir.

Board-At-Work2 karma

Thanks!

greatjobpeppep2 karma

[deleted]

Board-At-Work2 karma

You need to have a VERY good business plan. You work with your local SBA representative. Talk to as many local businesses that have been around and ask questions about how they handle things. Work with your local chamber of commerce to make connections in the community.

[deleted]2 karma

You should dump radioactive stuff on your face and become daredevil.

Board-At-Work2 karma

but will it give me acne?

Poncheezled2 karma

second blind person to make an AMA today o.o

Board-At-Work12 karma

Really? didnt see the other one

polloretardo2 karma

Did you see the recession coming?

Board-At-Work7 karma

Yes I saw it in a dream

brianreading2 karma

How are you using a computer right now? Like how do you see the screen?

Board-At-Work2 karma

Nephew is helping, but i also have a program called JAWS that reads on screen items

FetterPetter2 karma

Have you ever tried lsd or any other psychedelic?

Board-At-Work2 karma

this was answered earlier, the answer is no

mattl042 karma

[deleted]

Board-At-Work2 karma

Sweet man thanks, swing by sometime and check us out!

SackiiNostra2 karma

Do you still skateboard? Where do you do it and how scary was it when you first got on it (or back on it).

Props my man!

Board-At-Work8 karma

I didn't skateboard nor do i currently i do however snow board. However i only had snowboarded once before my blindness, so i guess it was more like learning the first time.

SackiiNostra3 karma

That's awesome, but you need to grab a longboard or something and get dragged around the city by a dog or simply ride with your son/nephew. I often close my eyes and feel the smooth or rugged road through the board and it's one of the best feelings.

I'm sure you'd love it as much as snowboarding.

Board-At-Work11 karma

Maybe will some time.

Nephew here: I own a longboard and know that feeling i may look into helping him out with it.

Ciael2 karma

What everyday task is hardest for you in your shop and/or daily life?

Board-At-Work4 karma

Determining whats in unmarked packages and containers, like cans.

peabodygreen2 karma

Why skateboards?

Board-At-Work2 karma

I get into it more for the snowboarding aspect it just happened to be a nice pairing.

The_Fallen_Angel1 karma

Did you ever see owning a business in your future. Sorry if the question sounds kinda dicky.

ChiDaddy1233 karma

Should have asked what his vision is for his business, or if he ever envisioned owning a business... Both better questions. Even the blind guy can see what you did there...

Board-At-Work3 karma

I never really envisioned myself owning a business.

tnt66561 karma

How are you reading our questions to reply to them?

Board-At-Work2 karma

If you read the opening paragraph my nephew is reading and responding for me.

skinazardous1 karma

What colour is your front door?

Board-At-Work3 karma

White

Chernobyl561 karma

Two strange questions:

1) Thinking back to how it was when you first became blind, do you think you would have rather lost a different sense (deaf, mute, etc)?

2) After your blindness started, did you ever go through a period of depression?

Board-At-Work2 karma

Not being able to talk wouldn't be horrible it could be worked around.

Nephew here: My vote would be to lose smell

Yea i would say i went through a period, wasn't real long but once i got used to it then it wasn't bad.