Many think that those who cannot see, spend their life holed up in their room. Blind people crave adventures just like everyone else and they can and will do things we never thought possible.
Blind people can live an active social life too. They can go to parties, to the theatre, to concerts and thanks to modern technologies they can use computers and the internet.
Sándor Karvai is unique even among the active blind. He takes such joy in life and partakes in such adventures that are rare even among those who can see and are completely healthy.
Not that long ago he was driving an electric car for 3 kilometres on the north part of Lake Balaton. His maximum speed was around 45 km/h, but he was driving by himself, only receiving instructions through a phone. And this was not the first extraordinary thing he has done.
Who would you believe if not him, when he says that life is beautiful.
Sándor grew up in Nógrád county. He had many sighted friends who welcomed him and never let him miss out on anything interesting. “I could play hide-and-seek, hit-and-run or soccer just like everybody else. If the best thing I could do was to obstruct the players from the other team, it was already worth it.”
He is 43 years old now, but he still lives by his motto that he does not want to be left out of anything. He believes that every day is a gift and new opportunities are waiting for him.
He has been working at Főkefe-Kézmű-Erfo for a year and a half now. This company employs the most people with disabilities in the country. They make furniture, bags and stationaries. They try to work on the public perception of the disabled. Sándor is a great help in these matters. He visits schools and tells stories about people with disabilities, making it clear, that they can be a productive part of our society and they can live happy lives with lots of adventure. His experience shows that most children 10 years old and up are really open and interested in what he has to say.
The first time he realized that he was different was when he could not go to the same pre-school as his twin and his older brother. It was also hard knowing that his friends are learning how to ride a bicycle and he cannot do the same.
So he decided to learn how to ride. Balancing is done with the ears, so technically you do not have to see in order to ride a bike. His hearing also lets him know when he leaves the bicycle path and goes onto unpaved roads.
He also uses a kind of echolocation. By making clicking sounds and listening to their echoes, he can determine how far an object is.
After learning how to ride a bicycle, the next logical step is to learn how to ride a motorcycle. He found out that if he keeps his legs on the ground at first and gradually lets go of the clutch, the engine will not stall. His father’s Wartburg also looked pretty interesting to him. In fact, he is interested in most vehicles. He says that if he were sighted, for sure he would be a bus or truck driver.
So how did he manage those 3 Guinness records?
This all started 13 years ago when he tested a Lexus SUV and a small Peugeot for a TV show. There he met Barna Kőváry rally driver, who asked him to be his navigator. Together they won the Hungarian championship in 2009 in their category.
Meanwhile, he became friends with another rally driver, Gergő Borsi. With his help, Sándor got to ride a Kawasaki for a few hundred meters on the Hungaroring.
In 2012 he completed a full lap on the Hungaroring. No one has ever done anything like this before. His average speed was 35 km/h, his maximum speed was almost 50 km/h. This got him his first Guinness record. Of course, doing a full lap would be hard in ideal conditions, but luck was not on his side. They lost connection for a while and Sándor had to navigate a few turns without any help, relying on his memory.
Two years later he rode a jet ski for 1600 meters. This was his second Guinness record.
In 2015 he drove a luxury bus filled with reporters. He also tried out a tank.
The third Guinness record came when he drove an electric car on road 71. Many of his dreams have come true, but he still has some things on his bucket list. He wants to drive a truck and a train too.
He is always careful when he is driving, knowing how dangerous it can be. He can never forget that he needs to rely on others to keep him safe.
Featured image: www.facebook.com/pg/karvaisandor