I was taking the subway home from work the other day and since it was rush hour, it was rather crowded.
Needless to say, there were no seats available.
Not that I needed one thought, since I was feeling perfectly fine, ain’t pregnant and I kind of wanted to stand to stretch my legs having being sitting on the office chair the entire day.
Across the corner, I saw a pregnant lady. She was standing at a corner. She must have been at least 5-6 months pregnant (from what I could deduce from the size of her belly) and I could remember how tiring it was then when I was pregnant with Ally.
The stack of seats near her we’re all occupied, mainly by abled body young men.
Well well, not a totally unusual sight.
Moving closely to the pregnant lady, I asked her, “Will you like to take a seat?”
Well I was going to ask someone to give up her seat if she would like to.
She smiled back at me and said “It’s alright, thank you”.
I am not going to judge individuals who do not give up their seats to those who deserve it more. Alright, I don’t deny that sometimes I do judge.
Having said that, I am in total disagreement with those who are in requirement of a seat (by that, I am referring to the handicapped, pregnant ladies, elderly, those with a child) shaming those individuals who doesn’t give up their seats, either by taking photos of them discreetly and posting them somewhere (group chats and Facebook seems to be the most common platform) or simply complaining to other people.
If you need a seat, simply ask.
I bet to you that most people are more than willing to give up their seats to you.
And yes, I am speaking from experience.
When I was pregnant with Ally back then, I normally get a seat on the bus or train. Either the other passengers give up their seats for me in the crowded buses or trains automatically, or I ask them for a seat.
Except for two separate instances where I had not so pleasant experience (which I would probably just attribute to as outliers), I didn’t had much difficulties securing one when I asked. Probably because I smiled at them and said thank you. Probably they feel appreciated 🙂
Even when I wasn’t pregnant then, there was an occasion many years back where I had severe anemia and was on the verge of collapsing on the train. Sensing something wrong, immediately, I asked a fellow passenger for a seat. She gave it to me.
Sometimes all we have to do is ask.
It’s easier to complain. Because we expect people to do that.
It’s true that in most major cities, most trains do labour “priority seats” meant for this group of people.
However, even if we are not occupying one, we could still conduct the gracious gesture of giving it to someone who deserve it more than us.
But at the same time, it’s also important to recognise that when a stranger gives up a seat to you, it is not an entitlement. It is a privilege.
Be grateful. Smile at them and say thank you.