Store patron Debra Lichter told the clerk, "I used to work with people about how to deal with people with disabilities, and I know you thought you were being cheerful but you were very condescending to this woman."
Bystander Matthew Lichten added, "And I have to say, I am a psychotherapist and you are the one with the disability."
But ABC News wondered what would happen if the blind woman was swapped for a blind man named Adam? During half of Adam's shopping trips, no one intervened on his behalf.
Most people didn't explain why, although customer Yvette McNeil said she didn't get involved because the "the guy behind the counter looked mean."
When people did come forward for the blind man, it seemed that they were not only infuriated by the cheating but by their inability to stop it.
Marcia Errar, having witnessed the scene unfold, angrily yelled at the clerk, "You don't need to work in here. Let me tell you that. You don't know how to treat customers."
When the clerk denied having cheated the customer, Fran Rosamilia was so frustrated she asked, "Can you talk? You said that was a $20 and that was a $10, and in his hand those were two ones." In fact, she was so frustrated, she left without buying her cake.
Throughout the course of the experiment people never said a word until they actually saw the clerk shortchange the blind actors. They often disregarded the clerk's initial snide remarks. That is, except for one man named Nick Mitola.
The clerk began in his usual manner, insulting the blind actress about her disability. Mitola spoke up immediately. "You're really being rude, just stop talking, you're getting deeper and deeper," he said firmly.
The clerk asked the actor, "Are you deaf too? I told you three times."
Mitola had finally had enough and could no longer contain his disgust. "Wow. Shut up, Shut up! Enough's enough! Just shut up!" he yelled.
Later, Mitola explained that he owns a steak house down the street and that "if one of my people ever ... I'd have pulled him out of the counter and killed him in front of the customers. I swear to God I would have."
While Pamela and Adam take great pride in their independence, they appreciated the strangers who stood up for them on their behalf. But even more empowering, they said, would be to have a currency that would allow them to distinguish the different bills, so that they wouldn't have to rely on the honesty of strangers every time they shopped.
Indeed, a federal appeals court recently ruled in favor of the American Council of the Blind, concluding that the Treasury Department was being discriminatory by failing to provide such a currency, paving the way for a future redesign.