Able-bodied people should offer their seat on a crowded train to elderly people, yes?

(225 Posts)
LOLisNOTaPunctuationMark Tue 29-Oct-13 17:32:42

Am i alone in thinking this? After today, i feel like i am.

I went for the train home at 4.10pm. Just like every other day, the platform was swarming with people waiting to board. So on we all rushed when the train arrived. As usual, i found myself at the back of the mob queue, so had to stand as all seats were taken. (There's really no queue etiquette. Someone who had been waiting for 20 minutes doesn't get to go before someone who's just arrived for example.

Anyway, my train home is massive. It takes me about 90 secs to walk from the first to the last carriage, and that's with me walking quickly.

I found myself an inch of a handrail to hold onto next to the doors. I was in the smallest carriage. There's 6 tables with 6 chairs to a table (3 at each side of it). All seats were full (except a middle one at a back table). There was approx 12 people standing next and around me next to the door space.

In other words, it was packed.

Behind me, an elderly man and woman squeezed onto the train. The woman was really tiny and frail. She was huffing and sighing at there not being a seat. I pointed out the empty one at the back, but the elderly man was already making his way towards it.

After about a minute, the train starts. The woman was very unbalanced and staggered into people several times. She said very loudly how unfriendly our country is and how much nicer it is in Dublin. Then the elderly man shouts down that we are friendly in this country, just not on trains.

At the next stop, another five people squished inside. The woman was getting pushed into another man sitting at one of the front tables. he kept tutting loudly and finally snapped and asked her to watch herself.

All the while, the people at the tables were just staring blankly ahead, or immersed in their phones, and two people were looking at her and grinning.

Eventually, a woman offered her her seat because she was getting off at the next stop anyway.

Apart from the elderly woman and man in that carriage, no one else was elderly. I'm aware that some people may have had disabilities, but statistically it's unlikely that everyone sitting down had a disability/disorder/pregnancy etc.

I've always been brought up to offer my seat to an elderly person if somewhere is crowded, and i'm bringing my 5yo daughter up to do the same. She has a disability which sometimes means she can't always give up her seat, but on the occasions she can, she does.

I'm just really saddened by it. The woman seemed very shocked as if she expected someone to offer her a seat, and kept shaking her head and sighing.

I'm dreading being old.

peking Tue 29-Oct-13 17:37:21

I don't imagine many people are being brought up now to look out for the elderly. The general feeling is to teach your children not to talk to strangers, but noone ever seems to mention how to look after adults to need help.

binger Tue 29-Oct-13 17:43:26

That wouldn't happen up here (Glasgow). Seats are given up readily for the elderly.

eurochick Tue 29-Oct-13 17:43:55

TBH, the tutting and sighing would have put me off. I will offer a seat (and have, many times) to someone who looks like they need it. But in this case the passive aggressive stuff and comments about Dublin would probably have made me think twice and more inclined to just hide behind my kindle...

LOLisNOTaPunctuationMark Tue 29-Oct-13 17:45:28

Binger - it was Glasgow! shock

DismemberedDwerf Tue 29-Oct-13 17:46:22

That's just shite. People I give up my seat to: elderly, disabled, very young or pregnant. I've also been known to boot others out of their seats gently suggest to other people that someone very much more in need of their seat may like to sit down.

I would have loudly asked the tutter if he felt he was more able to stand and not fall over, perhaps he should do that?

It's shameful how some people wilfully stare past someone in need rather than standing and it's certainly not how I'm bringing my kids up.

cory Tue 29-Oct-13 17:46:36

I would certainly have offered my seat and I hope dc would too.

But if I had been the old woman, I might have tackled it in a different way. Something along the lines of "excuse me do you think I could have your seat, I'm not very steady on my pins". Friendly smile, and that would probably be job done.

CoffeeTea103 Tue 29-Oct-13 17:48:13

I would have given up my seat. Tbh the tutting and comment from the lady might have put people off.

OttilieKnackered Tue 29-Oct-13 17:49:38

Ha. Rather dispels the 'English/Southerners aren't as friendly' bullshit that gets spouted, doesn't it?

Strumpetron Tue 29-Oct-13 17:49:41

I would have given up my seat but her attitude wasn't good either.

caruthers Tue 29-Oct-13 17:49:58

Some of the blame should be shouldered by the train company for packing people in like sardines.

Personally I would rather stand on a crowded train because i'm able to do so, but invariably there still aren't enough spaces for everyone to sit or stand comfortably.

catsmother Tue 29-Oct-13 17:50:05

It'd seem from what LOL observed that indeed many people don't seem to have been brought up to be considerate and compassionate. However, I haven't brought my kids up like that, I wasn't brought up like that and I'm pretty sure most other mums I know have a similar attitude.

Nonetheless there were obviously an awful lot of very selfish people in that carriage (agree it's extremely unlikely that everyone sitting down had good reason to cling on to their seat) and I really do wonder what goes through the minds of people like that when they sit there determinedly and smugly despite seeing someone else struggling. I wouldn't have had any hesitation at all, seeing that, in loudly announcing that there was an elderly couple in need of some consideration and glaring at all those in my sight. I know it's not nice for anyone standing on a crowded train being pressed up against others, feeling uncomfortable, claustrophobic and all the rest but jeez, who feels okay about leaving an obviously old person to stand ? ....... at least some of those sitting must surely realise the implications of a fall for an elderly person can be very serious for example.

whois Tue 29-Oct-13 17:50:41

The PA tutting would have pissed me right off! A smile and a 'is anyone more able to stand, I'd really appreciate a seat' would have been a better approach.

frogspoon Tue 29-Oct-13 18:08:25

It is possible that someone genuinely didn't notice. I was always brought up to offer my seat to the elderly/ disabled/ pregnant etc.

I was once so absorbed in reading a book on the bus, that I didn't notice an elderly lady step on. That is until she suddenly started having a massive go at me, telling me how rude I was to have not given her my seat.

Of course I apologised and offered it immediately, but she refused to sit down, and just kept going on about how rude I was.

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Tue 29-Oct-13 18:12:48

I'm another that would be posed off with the pa huffing and sighing

I'm disabled and if I ever need to sit down (or need space for my wheelchair) then I ask nicely. Sometimes people just don't notice and really if you need a space the least you can do is ask politely, I'm very aware that when people help me they are making life that little bit more difficult for themselves and I'm really grateful when they do

FortyDoorsToNowhere Tue 29-Oct-13 18:13:19

I would give up my seat and have done after a 7.5 hour shift on my feet.

The women was rude but even her attitude wouldn't put me off offering.

LOLisNOTaPunctuationMark Tue 29-Oct-13 18:21:20

The carriage was really quiet as no one was talking throughout the whole journey, except the woman making noises every now and then. She only had a little voice but i think it carried all around the carriage because there was no other noise to compete with it.

i had several urges to ask on the woman's behalf if anyone would offer her their seat, but i kept losing my nerve and thought i'd offend people/put people on the spot. They all (as far as i could tell) knew she was there. if they wanted to give her their seat, they would have done without being prompted

MayTheOddsBeEverInYourFavour Tue 29-Oct-13 18:26:48

Actually I've really found that most people if asked are more than happy to give up their seats even if they showed no intention of moving before being asked

A lot of people are in their own little world (I'm very like this grin) also some people assume that if you needed it you would ask, others might be waiting/hoping/expecting someone else to offer

sunbathe Tue 29-Oct-13 18:28:48

It's possible that some people thought she should have been travelling at a different time, when it's quieter, as she wasn't working, iyswim.

I knew commuters who thought like that. thlshock

That is awful. sad

I think I would try asking for a seat for her - I've noticed that often works better than someone asking for themselves. So if you can tap someone on the shoulder and say, excuse me, are you able to stand as this lady is struggling, it's very likely even if they refuse, someone else will be shamed into getting up.

I agree with others it'd have been good if she'd asked nicely too, because people sometimes feel awkward offering in case it's taken the wrong way (more perhaps if you suspect someone is pregnant, I guess).

TidyDancer Tue 29-Oct-13 19:02:55

My perspective in this is generally that you should not expect to be given a seat if you are not willing to ask for one. That said, I would always offer mine to someone who was more in need of it than I was.

I think the woman's huffing and puffing probably didn't help matters much. I would be far less likely to offer my seat to someone being rude.

I remember a lovely elderly Italian man shouting down a tube carriage for someone to give me a seat when I was abut 8 months PG - he got us both one!

fragola Tue 29-Oct-13 19:27:01

YANBU, I really do despair at how selfish so many people are these days sad.

SilveryMoon Tue 29-Oct-13 19:33:17

I was on the tube on Saturday, very busy. Lots of young, fit and apparently healthy nem and women sitting in their chairs whilst older people stand.
Is awful.

FranSanDisco Tue 29-Oct-13 19:41:43

I'd have given up my seat and often have and I'm in London. Man gave up his seat to my then 8 yo in London too!!

Sorry but guffawed at the 'that wouldn't happen in Glasgow' 'but it was Glasgow 'bit!! DH is from Glasgow and I am fed up with the boasting of how good it is compared to London blah blah. Felt a weight lift wink and off to tell him lol!!!

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