Walking out our front door and down to the street to get the mail is something that many of us take for granted. Lynda Tennette was one of those people, until about two years when she lost her eyesight.
Now, she says the act of going outside to get her mail gives her a sense of independence. However, it also causes her great anxiety because of the location of her mailbox.
“My mailbox is on the edge of the street. No sidewalk. Nothing to slow people down,” she told CBS 6 News in Virginia.
After losing her eyesight, Tennette feared going to check her mail.
Tennette has a right to worry. She told CBS 6 News that she has been almost hit by a car multiple times, while she was out walking with a mobility specialist, someone who helps her acclimate to her blindness.
Although she only has to walk a step or two into the street to open her mailbox, she is concerned that she might walk out too far by mistake.
“Being blind, if I miss my cue for where my mailbox is, I will end up in the middle of the street, and they’re not going to see me when they’re coming,” she said. “By the time they see me, it’s too late.”
She became fearful of getting hit by a car, so she called her county for help.
Tennette called the county where she lives, Henrico County, for help. She requested they put up a sign in her neighborhood that warned drivers of a blind person in the area.
Her request was denied. So, she contacted the CBS 6 Problem Solvers for help.
When the county denied her request she turned to the media for help.
“I have seen signs for deaf children and I’ve seen signs for blind children and that’s great,” she said. “But as an adult I think we also still need it.”
CBS 6 Problem Solvers found some answers for Tennette, but they were not what she wanted to hear. For a variety of reasons, the county said they would not put up a sign. One of the reasons was that they provided a false sense of security. Tennette didn’t believe that to be the case.
The county suggested she create her own sign for her property, and Tennette considered it. She seemed to think it was her only option.
A stranger saw her story on CBS 6 and decided to help.
After Tennette’s local news aired her story about trying to obtain a sign from the county alerting drivers that a blind person lived in the area, a stranger took notice.
When Wesley Benton saw Tennette’s story he knew he had to lend a hand. Benton, who owns a home improvement business, was moved by the story, because he had once experienced something that Tennette feared. His great-grandmother was hit by a car while she crossed the street to retrieve her mail.
Benton installed a mailbox for Tennette that opened on both ends.
It was a simple fix and one that Benton decided to take a little time out of his day to complete.
Tennette was thrilled with her new mailbox.
“Wow, this is really nice,” she said to Benton. “Can I give you a hug for doing this for me?”