William Gyles Guesthouse, former home of the Newport International Hostel
Bannister's Wharf, Newport, RI
Lobster fisherman in Newport Harbor, Newport, RI
Clark Cook House at Bowen's Wharf, Newport, RI

The Blind English Traveler
Stories from the Hostel

Late one summer afternoon I received an urgent call from Carol, an employee of the Hi-USA Mid-Cape Hostel, requesting a bed at the Newport hostel for Tony, one of her male guests, for the next night. Following a positive response from me, she put him on the phone to give me his booking details.

Tony, a charming Englishman, arrived by taxi from the Newport bus station the next morning, cane in hand. As I watched him fumble for the correct change to give the taxi driver I realized he was blind.

He told me he was “seeing America.” He still had a few states to go, he explained.

I asked if he was hungry. A quick nod confirmed this and I sent him on his way to the local pizza shop, Via Via’s, a few blocks from the hostel along the waterfront. No problem making it there on his own, he said. Later that day when I asked about his day’s adventures, he said the pizza was great and then smiled quietly and said, “the staff wouldn’t let me pay.”

That evening I helped him book a bed at the next hostel he was planning on staying in in Hartford, Connecticut.

Shortly after he left I ran into one of my neighbors who told me he took one of my guests to the bus station that day - "a blind man who appeared to be lost," he said. Tony had seen him in his front yard and had asked him directions to the bus station, which was about a 20 minute walk away. Afraid he would never find it, my neighbor decided to take him there. I assured my neighbor that Tony would have had no problem finding the bus station on his own, but thanked him for his generosity.

Later I pondered about how wonderful our American community is in supporting this blind man on his journey across America…the hostels helping him get booked in the next hostel on his journey, the Newport pizza shop giving a warm welcome to him by not letting him pay, and the kind-hearted neighbor giving him a lift to the bus station.

Thank you Newport and thank you America!

-- Written by, Merrilee Zellner, former Manager/owner
Newport International Hostel, Newport, Rhode Island


This is the story of the visit of one of the many international guests who passed through the doors of the Newport International Hostel over the years. 

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