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Saudis experience ‘blindness’ in pitch-black restaurant

Visually impaired men and women were trained on how to greet and seat guests at the restaurant

Nada Al Tuwaijri

Published: Updated:

A new restaurant in the Saudi capital Riyadh is offering a series of dine-in-the-dark evenings, giving customers the opportunity to experience what it is like to be “blind.”

The president of the Saudi national committee on preventing blindness, Prince Abdulaziz bin Ahmad bin Abdulaziz, inaugurated the launch.

Prince Abdulaziz said the excitement and enthusiasm of the trainees was higher than expected, calling for more initiatives to support and acknowledge the visually impaired as capable rather than handicapped.

Visually impaired men and women were trained on how to greet and seat guests by of the Parisian “Dans le Noir” dine-in-the-dark restaurant staff, who were invited from Paris to the Saudi capital.

“Those who live the experience must be convinced that life doesn’t stop when one loses their sight,” said waitress Faten al-Otaibi.

Waiter Amjaad al-Otaibi said: “We managed through this project to prove that we’re capable of coping with challenges, and that we’re equal to everyone else. Give us the opportunity and see what we can do.”

Diner Abdulhakeem said the experience “opened my eyes to things I’ve never seen. I’m certain that the blind see us better than we see them. They depend on all their senses, while we only depend on our vision.”

Comedian and attendee Fahad al-Butairi said it was “a beautiful initiative,” adding that it was "a unique and terrifying experience for the first five minutes only.”