It was the evening before Thanksgiving break at my college, and everyone was rushing to get home because the dorms would be closed soon. My school required all freshmen to live on campus, but did not allow us to have cars due to limited parking. This meant that just about every freshman who did not live close by relied heavily on public transportation. More specifically, they would all be relying on the one bus that stopped in front of our student center every hour or so and went to the local metro area’s train station. In apparent acknowledgment of that fact, bus traffic to our school was doubled to accommodate (it stopped every 1/2 hour), but the line of people waiting to get on the bus was still massive by the early afternoon. It led all the way from the entrance of the student center, through the building, and out 100ft to the bus stop. There usually wasn’t a line to get on the bus, so there were plenty of people who ignored the line as they walked through the student center only to stare in horror once they got to the bus stop. They would then dejectedly turn around and head back to the start of the line. There were lots of heavy suitcases and backpacks, and all of us were looking forward to cramming into a standing-room only bus for a half hour ride only to wait at an overcrowded train station to board an even more overcrowded train. Tensions were high, but everyone was trying to keep the grumbling to a minimum since we were all in the same boat.
Then, it happened. I had finally made my way to the front of this line after waiting patiently for over an hour. The next bus was in sight, and everyone around me was bracing to finally get on it. A pair of girls suddenly steps in front of me. They were chatting absent-mindedly as they did so, as if they did not even notice me or the line of people behind them. Assuming they really did not notice, I said, “Excuse me, but there is a line of people here who have been waiting for a very long time. The line starts in front of the student center.” One of the girls completely ignores me, while the other blithely responds “I know. I’m being selfish. It’s a life-or-death situation.” Before I or any of the other astonished onlookers could respond, the girls had already climbed on to the bus. Some choice words were mumbled around me, but there was little we could do without holding up the bus so we all just shuffled in.
I can not fully express in text the apathy and entitlement in this girl’s voice and attitude. Suffice it to say that it was extremely obvious that there was no actual “life or death” involved – at least not more than anyone else who was waiting patiently on line. If there was any outward sign at all that this girl really was in a bad spot, I might have chalked it up to dire circumstances, but the girls were giggling and gossiping frivolously the whole way. I don’t know where this girl got off thinking that just admitting that she was “being selfish” let her off the hook for actually performing the selfish deed. 1025-11