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My Seat…And Yours, Too

A few years ago I was on a bus from Sydney city out to the suburb that I live in. It’s always crowded during the afternoon rush and, sure enough, there were lots of people standing in the aisle. An elderly lady got on the bus and a man sitting in an inside seat near her (Man A) indicated to the man next to him (Man B) that he would like him to move out so that he (Man A) could give this lady his seat. Good on him, we all thought. Nice to see that good manners aren’t dead. So, Man A and Man B stand up and the lady sits in the seat formerly occupied by Man A. Man A then proceeds to park himself in Man B’s seat and open a newspaper. Talk about cheeky! Fortunately Man B found another seat not too far down the road when the bus cleared a bit. He never said a word, but the rest of the bus was agog at the rudeness. Giving up your seat only counts as chivalry if it’s YOUR OWN SEAT that you’re giving up, not someone else’s. 0909-09


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  • Mary Bernard September 12, 2009, 2:57 pm

    The same thing (almost) happened to me. I got on a plane, where I had an aisle seat, and a guy was sitting in my seat. The middle seat next to him and the window seat were occupied by a man and a woman who appeared to be a couple. I said to the guy in my seat, “Excuse me, but I think you’re in my seat. May I see your boarding pass?” The guy said that he was supposed to be in the window seat, but the man was in the middle seat, and his wife was in the middle seat across the aisle, and they asked him if he would switch seats with the wife so that the two of them could sit together, and he did. He should have sat in the middle seat across the aisle, but oh no, he decided to sit in my seat instead, because he didn’t want to sit in the middle seat. “I see,” I said smiling, and I didn’t move. After a few minutes, he said, “Oh, you want to sit here?” Yes I did, so he got up and sat in the middle seat across the aisle, and I got to sit in my aisle seat. He just didn’t know that when you trade seats with someone, you’re supposed to sit in the crummy seat the other person didn’t want. At least I set him straight.

  • Patti March 16, 2010, 3:18 pm

    I was sitting on a bus when this mentally old man got on with a walker waving a peice of paper at the driver stating he need his WALKER secured by LAW. The paper had nothing but small print on it and here offical papers have writing idicating that they’re official documents. This walker had a peice that most users can sit on. Nope, not good enough for the man not only did he think he should be given up three seats for his COLLAPSABLE walker but then looked at me and demanded a seat. I had just got off a long morning at work on my feet and had to travel by bus so there was no way I was giving up my seat so I turned away ignoring him. He didn’t have any right to get special treatment and giving my seat to him would’ve given him the right to think he did. Someone else gave up their seat but mine was just in front of where he parked his walker that’s why he wanted it.

  • PrincessSimmi June 2, 2010, 8:28 pm

    I’ve hauled schoolchildren out of their seats to make way for elderly people, yelled at physically fit men to give up their seats for pregnant women, etc. Apparently I haven’t helped anyone learn any manners, I fainted on the bus and when I came to was on the floor with people stepping over me to get off the bus. I then had to sit on the floor until the next stop when I got off and caught a cab directly to the doctors. People suck.

  • Amber August 29, 2010, 8:27 pm

    Not about the OP but one of the replies — I might be off the mark here but I’m really bothered that Patti didn’t give up her seat for a handicapped person. I wasn’t going to comment on it, but my own mother has a physical handicap and uses a walker from time to time, and in fact used to be in a wheelchair so this kind of thing really, really upsets me. The number of people who ignore handicapped people or somehow think they’re better than them is just appalling. I can’t tell you the number of times people would actually step in front of the wheelchair – as though it wasn’t even there – and then get mad at my mother for not being able to stop in time. And I don’t know about elsewhere but here it is illegal to sit on something like a walker while it’s on a moving vehicle – it’s a huge safety hazard. So Patti, I don’t care if your feet were sore, I think you should have given up your seat to the guy. I’ve been in the same position and have done it myself. Yes it sucks, and your feet hurt, but you just have to put up with it for a bit and be grateful that you’re healthy enough to be able to stand on the bus.

    Oh, I have to add that here the seats close to the front are designated for handicapped use, and if you’re asked to give up your seat then yes you have to do it. Since Patti was able to see what was on the paper then I assume she was up front close to the driver. So depending on where Patti lives, yes the old man may actually have had a right to her seat.

  • Jumble Girl October 19, 2010, 6:42 pm

    I once got on a very packed commuter train, standing room only. And older fellow offered his seat to me which I declined (being much younger). He subsequently offered his seat to a number of other young ladies that got on the train at various times. What amazed me is that there was an older lady with him who he was talking to, who was standing! Granted she may have wanted to stand, but it just looked weird that he was offering his seat to all around him but not her.

  • Jude November 21, 2010, 7:52 pm

    Yes, Amber you are off the mark. Yes you are correct about the seats being marked as reserved for the elderly and handy capped, but that only means that if the driver asks you to move then you have to move. Elderly and handy capped passengers get a special bus pass which entitles them to reduced fare, and if someone gets on a crowded bus using the special pass, the driver must make sure they get a seat. I’m rapidly approaching elderly and sometimes need a cane to get around, but since I am not handy capped enough to need or get a handy capped pass no one is obligated to give up a seat for me.

  • Jillybean November 22, 2010, 8:34 am

    Jude – I imagine that depends on where you live. Where I live Amber’s remarks are dead on. Doesn’t mean that everyone complies, but yes, indeed, you are supposed to give up certain seats for elderly or handicapped people (OR being the key word, they don’t have to be both). Of course, how people are supposed to behave isn’t always in line with how they do.

  • Tori March 11, 2011, 7:49 pm

    Ok I have a short story. When I was about 11 I went to San Francisco with my parents and little sister(little sister name will be K). We had walked around all day(Aquarium, Pier 39, Ghirardelli Square,etc,.). So we decided to take a bus back to the BART Station to spare K’s feet. And moms too for that matter. No smart for her to wear heels. Anyways we are on the bus and its pretty full but we got 2 seats near the front. Mom sat down and K sat on my lap. Then at the first stop this guy gets on and he sees me and K. We are easily the youngest people on the bus. He DEMANDS we stand and let him sit. I say ‘No, sorry’. THen he says something along the lines of how dare I obey him and goes on how I should listen to my elders. The guy btw was about 30-35. Not elderly or handicapped. Dad tells him to back off.(Dad has great evil-eye when someone messes with his kids btw). 2 stops later this old woman with a cane gets on. She can barely walk and looks tired. I had rested up a bit by that point so I move K to mom’s lap and offer her my seat. Mr. A-Hole then proceeds to take the seat I was clearly offering her. He then refuses to get up. Anyways one guy who was nearly as old(a lot stronger looking though) as the woman stood up and offered the lady his seat. 7 stops later it time for us to get off. Mr.A-Hole is still sitting there looking kinda smug. K being 6 at the time but realizing what a jerk he was goes up kicks him in the shins(very hard she is a strong child). I wouldn’t have done that and Mom scolds her for 30 seconds. Then dad slips her a candy bar about an hour later. I could tell he was wishing he had the excuse of being a 6yr old to kick that guy.

  • Enna April 29, 2011, 10:00 am

    Amber to an extent does have a point – what I would say however is that some handicaped people are rude and are inconsiderate. However I think in Patti’s expierence with the man with the zimmerframe was that he “demarned” her seat. It could be a case that nasty Seat Hogs have turned this man into one himself. I was in a shopping centre once and a lady was in a motorised wheelchair and speed up and went straight at me – I had to jump out the way and nearly knocked my Mum over – if she was in a genuine urgent hurry an “excuse me” would have been fine.

    Now if the zimmerframe was collapseable or the man could sit on it? Zimmerframes surely have breaks on them so the owner can sit on them – if the owner sits on it in the garden on in a shopping centre a break would still be needed to stop it rolling ever so slightly and the person falling to the ground. I know a lady who has one and she sits on it on the bus – however she uses the part of the bus which have the seats that go upright to allow prams and wheelchars to go there.

    I am always polite to people who have mobility problems in public, whether they are disabeled, elderly or people with prams.

  • Jen June 3, 2011, 12:57 am

    This is a late contribution to this story line but I recently found this site – I love it btw – and am busy catching up on stories (instead of studying I might add). Anyway I would like to share a story…

    A couple of years ago my BF was boarding a plane for a 4 hour trip across the country (Australia) and not long after the plane settled at cruising altitude he was asked by a steward if he wouldn’t mind swapping his seat with a lady as she wanted to read and her light wasn’t working. Sure he says, being gracious even though he reads as well. So he is escorted to the back of the plane and is offered a middle seat in between two people each holding a small child! Aha! he thinks, this isn’t just about a light not working, and says, sorry, I would like my original seat back. How many people would have felt pressured to accept the swap after agreeing initially? I probably would have. I can’t help but wonder how many other people were asked first (he was quite a ways up from that row).

    Not that I have anything against travelling with children, I have done it myself, but given the choice I wouldn’t like to be sandwiched between two people each holding a child.

  • Sarah February 9, 2017, 8:00 pm

    To Princess Simmi,

    You can suggest to someone that they move, but if someone hauled my kids out of seat for themselves or anyone else, I’d call the polive IMMEDIATELY! You can ask, but you can not put your hands on someone else’s child!

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