To Matthew, raising awareness of people and groups who are underrepresented has always been important. Besides working as a custodian at a local school in Ontario Canada, he is cofounder of the LGBTQ+ charity in his hometown. When Matthew heard about Be My Eyes he was happy to be able to help give visibility to a completely different group of people.
We saw a need to help those who felt underrepresented [in terms of] visibility. That’s what Be My Eyes is literally doing - giving visibility.
When he gets a Be My Eyes call, Matthew shares that it’s usually concerned with reading something. Requests can range from reading an ingredient list, cooking instructions, or personal correspondences, and Matthew is always happy to be of assistance.
Matthew remembers his first call very clearly: It was quite a funny experience to him. He got connected to a woman who wanted help with reading the cooking instructions of a frozen pizza. None of them could understand why the camera wasn’t working, all Matthew received was a black screen. It took a while for them to figure out that the lady hadn’t turned on her lights. When she finally got the light turned on, everything ran much more smoothly. One of Matthew’s favorite calls was from a man who was about to go on vacation. The caller had a shirt with an orange pattern on it and wanted to find his matching orange shorts. Matthew helped him look through the drawers until they found the right pair of shorts to ensure he’d look stylish on his vacation.
It has always been a pleasure, Matthew says, to be a Be My Eyes volunteer and appreciates that the users have always been kind and grateful for his help. He describes the experience of being a Be My Eyes volunteer as the digital version of helping a somebody you cross paths with. If someone asked for your help, you wouldn’t hesitate to give it.
I always feel like if I was on the street or in a grocery store, and someone asked me for help, I wouldn’t hesitate to give it. Be My Eyes is basically the digital version of that.