Since 2012, Japan has employed “help mark” badges to help those with disabilities and ailments. Created by the Tokyo Metropolitan government, individuals with "invisible disabilities" receive a red badge bearing a white cross and white heart on one side and explain the ailment and other emergency information on the other.

The badge can be strapped to baggage or clothing and informs others of conditions they would otherwise be unaware of. Overall, the badge is intended to make it easier for those with ailments to receive priority seating while on the train or help while out and about in the city.

Kitamura Shoten | © PIXTA

Sure enough, the program has been well received. Moreover, on top of spreading awareness, proponents hope that the badges can help create a more compassionate society.

An attack at the Station

More importantly, "help mark" badges have been lifesavers for some. For instance, Twitter user Azusa Takahara (@azujackie) recently posted about her experience.

Azusa suffers from Ménière's disease, an inner-ear condition marked by dizziness, hardness of hearing, tinnitus. Of course, she detailed this on her badge.

Reproduced with permission from Azusa Takahara 高原梓 (@azujackie)

“I have Ménière's disease. I get dizzy and listless, and I may have trouble speaking. Please urge me to take medicine and lie down. I’ll get better after a little time. Thank you for helping me.

Her help mark soon came in handy. In early November, Azusa began experiencing an attack while at Tokyo train station. Azusa starting feeling bad, and crouched down. At that time, a female passerby noticed her help mark and asked if she was OK. The lady called out for help, and a station attendant helped her while another passerby bought her water.

“Around 1 PM today, I began feeling bad at Shin-Okubo station. I was crouching down when a lady called out for assistance and helped me. I don’t really talk about my condition with my friends, and I wasn’t going to Tweet about it, but I felt so bad during the attack that I couldn’t say anything to anyone. So, I need to say thank you now.”

After the episode, Azusa tweeted about the incident to express her gratitude.

“The lady who noticed my help mark called for help and rubbed my back until the station attendant came. She really helped me calm down. I also want to say thank you to the person who bought me water and helped me feel better.”

Azusa also remarked how she hoped she could be brave enough to help someone else in need. Just like the lady who helped her. After all, it takes a lot of courage for her to do what she did.

Many followers were touched by the story. They responded:

  • "I also have Ménière's disease, so I understand how horrible it feels. I'm glad someone so kind was there with you."
  • "If anything like this ever happens around me, I hope I can notice the person's help mark."
  • “What a wonderful story. The world hasn’t completely gone down the tubes yet.”

Hopefully, everyone can find a little inspiration in Azusa’s story.

By - Luke Mahoney.