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To wonder what makes some people truly nasty on public transport?

(101 Posts)
redplasticspoon Fri 22-Feb-13 19:28:06

I was taking dd, age 2, in a pushchair home from nursery today in the bus. Got on the bus, and this particular bus had a rather small pushchair/wheelchair area, with a woman standing so that I couldn't get the pushchair in. I said 'Excuse me please' and she didn't move, then said it a second time louder in case she didn't hear me - she looked at me and still didn't move. At this point a man who was sitting down with bags on the seats next to the pushchair area got up to make space to just about push dd in the space. (I apologised to him for having to move, and just to be clear - there were lots of seats available on the bus which the woman could have sat on).

A couple of stops later a second pushchair gets on, and the woman moves, but hits my dd in the head with her bag. It looked rather purposeful to me. DD said 'Ow' but didn't cry. I turned round to her 'You hit the baby in the head', she ignored me, no apology, I then said it a second time and then called dh for support as it made me quite upset that someone would treat dd in this way. I don't know what else I could have done, and wonder how someone could behave this way towards my dd. Please tell me I'm not BU, or what could I have done better?

Moominsarehippos Sun 24-Feb-13 09:39:50

Is she talking about the ledge near the driver? That's for luggage.

Either way, pram folded or not, manners cost nothing! However if someone dismissed a whack to the head as 'nothing' I'd offer to demonstrate on them with my handbag (which is usually very heavy).

Selvedge Sun 24-Feb-13 01:23:28

OP YANBU. Best case scenario, she was self-absorbed with no spatial awareness. Worst case, she's mean and nasty. Either way, you did nothing wrong and I don't know what I would have done differently (except maybe be a bit more vocal).

Lowercase, you seem to have a bee in your bonnet about buggies on buses. What bus do you use that has an area for stowing a folded pushchair but not the luggage of a standing passenger? And only has room for a standee in the wheelchair/pushchair area? My local buses have poles and hanging loops left, right and centre, and no luggage space whatsoever...

Noideaatall Sun 24-Feb-13 00:29:18

OP, this has happened to me on the tube. I was travelling with DS1 (4) & DS2(Teenage) - a woman got on and leant right across DS1, knocking him in the face with her two huge bags. DS2 held them away from his face without saying anything. She carried on leaning & banging DS1 - eventually I pushed the bags away & said - Excuse me, you're hitting him in the face. She sarcastically said -'Sorreee! it's hardly hitting him!' (it had, several times but he's quite stoic about that sort of thing) She'd been offered a seat and refused it already (more than I get on the tube at 7 months pregnant) so not angling for that - she was just rude & thoughtless and did it to another child that got on and sat next to us later. Grr. Although DS1 used to get the same when he was small - people would even rest their bags on his head!

redplasticspoon Sat 23-Feb-13 15:48:53

Nufc I think you have a point there. When I've been to the north people even say thank you to the bus driver, though there never seem to be enough people on buses for the same kind of aggression to build.

NUFC69 Sat 23-Feb-13 13:32:31

When I read threads like this I do wonder if the rudeness and aggression is a London thing (it's years since we lived nearby). Up here in Newcastle when I use the bus with my GS people are extremely kind and helpful. It's rare that I am not waved forward to get on the bus first. Also on our buses there are bays on both sides and they are marked for either wheelchairs or pushchairs.

Floggingmolly Sat 23-Feb-13 12:59:27

You should have sat in her lap, Moomins

Moominsarehippos Sat 23-Feb-13 12:15:08

I was shoved (quite hard) out of the way on the bus when I was 9 months (as it turned out) pregnant. I was standing next to a seat, the passenger got up to get off and I stepped aside to let him off. I wasn't going to sit down, but the bitch that shoved me didn't know that. I was huuuuuge and wearing a red jumper, so looked like a tomato, so it was pretty obvious that I was pregnant. I also had my briefcase, so it was obvious I'd just put in a full day at the office.

The man next to me was shock but I found her brass neck quite amusing. She had to endure me and the startled man making (passive aggressive) digs for the 2 stops until I got off. No she wasn't elderly, poorly, fragile or unsteady on her feet. She ran for the bus like a bull and bowled into me to get her seat.

Me "Maybe she's very, very tired"
Him "Hard day at work, perhaps?"
Me "Me too! But I'm still standing"
Him "Maybe she's not feeling well"
Me "strong enough to nearly push me over"

BonaDrag Sat 23-Feb-13 11:42:09

I was pushed hard on a packed train when I was 8 months pregnant.
The pusher was a middle aged suited man. I told him if he laid another hand on me I would kick him in the balls. He didn't chance it.

YANBU and I think very calm under the circumstances.

atthewelles Sat 23-Feb-13 11:28:23

Her behaviour does sound odd. To be honest I can never understand why people stand in the wheelchair/buggy space when there are seats available and then wait to be asked to move by someone pushing a buggy. They should just get out of the way really.

Regarding the general attitude of people towards children I have often found my heart sinking if someone with a couple of small kids sits at the table beside me in a restaurant or gets into the same carriage as me in a train. Not because I don't like children but because I've seen so many incidents of parents allowing their kids to 'take over' a space and show no consideration for the other people there and expect everyone to think their kids are the centre of the universe that you do sometimes find yourself defaulting into 'oh shit. Someone with small children is about to sit there'.

Of course its unfair on the parents who have absolutely no intention of allowing their children to cause hassle but sometimes when you come across a sour attitude its because someone has just become weary of self entitled, everyone make way for me, type parents and people like the OP end up getting the brunt of it.

shock that anyone would deliberately hit a child, though.

Moominsarehippos Sat 23-Feb-13 10:52:02

I'm still not sure in which culture whacking a small child is ok!

Southeastdweller Sat 23-Feb-13 10:24:47

I think she was in a very grumpy mood and with some kind of impairment or/and cultural difference. I know I wasn't there but I find it very hard to believe she hit your DD deliberately.

twitchycurtains Sat 23-Feb-13 10:18:00

OP YABVVVU, I personally wear a sling but carry my folded up buggy everywhere whilst still having one hand free to keep hold of my 3.7 year old because thats just the kind of considerate pavement/bus user I am. I realise that my v small children are an absolute nuisance to absolutely everyone and as penance for daring to breed (and not having the forsight to be able to drive/afford to run a car) I always walk everywhere through wind/rain/snow/blizzard because that is how accomodating and considerate I am. So ner ner na ner ner.

In all seriousness, op, you were polite but public transport brings out the worst in people, I am so self conscience about travelling with my 4 month old and pre schooler on buses, that I cannot relax whilst on the bus and the amount the of people who think they can make rude remarks about you within earshot just because you have dared to bring a buggy on board a bus. Its a bloody nightmare and no I will not fold up my buggy and whilst handing my baby to anstranger to hold and keep a tight hold on my pre schooler making a bid for freedom all whilst the bus is still moving, I'd rather get off and wait for the next one. Round her there are no luggage racks, just a space at the front for wheelchair users and buggies(it says so on the signs) and single line priority seats at the front before the normal seats begin.

redplasticspoon Sat 23-Feb-13 10:15:02

Thank you all, good to hear that there are some reasonable people out there.

What makes me thing it was deliberate was not just the way it was done, but also the woman not apologising when dd said ow or I pointed out to her what she had done. Surely any decent person would do? Even if you can't speak English, I would have thought anyone living in London would know 'sorry' or have at least said it in there native language. Incidentally if she was deaf (very unlikely) then I do know basic BSL from working with children with sensory impairments. There was no attept to say sorry :^by any means

Moominsarehippos Sat 23-Feb-13 09:09:09

Deaf or not - and not all deaf are completely deal to all noises - but you can still tell when your bag has wacked something and at least look.

I find the pram spaces are often taken by tourists with luggage (I'm central London). Prams can be a sod to fold - especially the fancy ones and 'double deckers' and it is tricky with a small child, bags, etc.

You do get the luggage shelf and sometimes a gap infront of the first two seats to fit in a folded pram of case on some London buses.

I have seen riots almost break out by awfully naice laidies trying to crowbar prams into the spaces on packed rush hour buses. Really really rude and aggressive behaviour from the lycra-clad alpha moms, usually towards another mum who doesn't seem to know the routine (and who they usually assume don't speak english/are hard or hearing/very stupid).
My usual route is right through Kensington to Notting Hill, so I get a good show most mornings.

With DS I walked or slinged him everywhere. Public transport is just a 'mare with a pram. This probably explains my arthritic knees now!

Do they still hang folded prams off the front of trams in Amsterdam? I got the shock of my life when I first saw one!

Charltonangel Sat 23-Feb-13 08:09:01

In Miami you can't take buggies on the bus, they have to be folded. It is a pain in the arse (Esp when dd has a broken leg)! Here people are generally nice - I have to bring dd home on the bus during rush hour and use a sling, and someone will almost always offer me a seat.

Sometimes you do just get people who don't see why babies/toddlers should be given special dispensation. I think it depends on your view of the world. I once got told by a hoity-toity commuter that I shouldn't have dd on a rush hour train (childminder was ill so was dropping her to a friend before work). I snarled at him told him I hoped very much he never tried to get on my train in the middle of the day, when trains are exclusively reserved for us ladies of leisure grin

TandB Sat 23-Feb-13 07:55:32

I don't see why the OP shouldn't have asked to use the space. I have no time for any argument about who gets priority in the wheelchair space - it's a wheelchair space so buggy-users need to shift themselves and stop moaning about it being a buggy space - but most buses in London say that it can be used by buggies when no wheelchair needs it. There was space for the woman to move, so the OP had every right to ask her to move. If there hadn't been room in that space, most London drivers wouldn't have let her on the bus at all.

However, the complete lack of reaction from the woman makes me think that she didn't speak English. She might have been deaf, as a previous poster suggested, but in my experience, a lot of people who can't hear tend to be quite alert to what is going on around them, simply because they know they might miss something. It's fairly unusual for someone to be both deliberately obstructive and completely silent when challenged - most people who are being awkward are quite happy to have an argument about it. I suspect she simply didn't register what was needed - perhaps daydreaming, and couldn't understand what was being said to her.

I also think it unlikely that she bashed the child on the head on purpose. It would take a pretty high level of spite to deliberately ignore the OP just to be awkward and then to hurt a child on purpose just for an added bit of fun!

potatoprinter Sat 23-Feb-13 07:53:37

OP I am sorry you encountered such a rude person and I don't think there is anything you could have done.

I use buses in London most days and this sort of experience is very unusual. I have seen tourists with bags etc genuinely unaware that this is a buggy space but they move straight away. Some buggies are so massive that they have to get on via the exit doors and stick out into the aisle.

I have unfortunately seen people refuse to move buggies to let wheelchairs or mobility scooters on which is pretty bad as well. I have also seen buggies move into the aisle and completely block it because the space is full with other buggies so no one can get off other than pushing their way to the front doors.

In my day (my kids are now teenagers). I would use an umbrella fold buggy and fold it before I got on the bus as buses had steps in my day! Any shopping had to go in a rucksack. When I was young there were the old routemasters with conductors and they would take the buggy and stash it in the luggage space - world has changed!

Southeastdweller Sat 23-Feb-13 07:36:07

In central london most people with buggies just get on, say nothing to the people standing in the pushchair space, just kind of push straight into the space. It's terribly rude I think. Often they are talking on a mobile which I think I even more rude. It costs nothing to smile or mouth thank you when someone moves away to give you the room.

I agree with this. Bad manners comes in many forms on public transport in London.

ErikNorseman Sat 23-Feb-13 07:32:07

How utterly odd. Some mumsnetters seem to just argue for the fun of it.

YANBU at all OP, why should you go to the hassle of folding your pram unnecessarily? And on brighton buses there is one wheelchair space, with a flat space to rest the back of the chair against, and two pushchair spaces. The bus driver wouldn't allow two wheelchairs on as it wouldn't be safe.

Southeastdweller Sat 23-Feb-13 07:25:26

I can't think of another culture where it's acceptable to hit a stranger's child.

Neither can I which is why I said I doubted it was deliberate.

stopbeingsilly Sat 23-Feb-13 06:56:05

princess a voice of sense and reason, finally! Love the monty python competitiveness, you're absolutely right grin

smellysocks you're trying way, way too hard here. Chill out.

Mimishimi Sat 23-Feb-13 06:19:40

I can't think of another culture where it's acceptable to hit a stranger's child.

sashh Sat 23-Feb-13 05:46:10

I was thinking deaf too.

HorraceTheOtter Fri 22-Feb-13 23:55:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

princessnumber2 Fri 22-Feb-13 23:47:56

I live in central London and on all the buses I get the luggage 'rack' (ie space for about 3 carrier bags for 72 passengers) is near the front, then priority seats for disabled, pregnant, elderly etc then wheelchair/buggy area is half way down the bus (past a queue of people standing). I wouldn't get on a bus if I couldn't get the buggy on without folding. I've got mobility issues so I'm in a slightly different position as I couldn't manage a child on my lap as well as shopping and a folded maclaren. Those of you saying 'put the buggy/shopping in the luggage area' are making me smile. Even if it would fit (and in 20 years in london I've never seen a folded buggy on the luggage rack) there is no way I'd leave it and go and sit somewhere else as it might not be there when I got off. (Where I live we have to chain our buggies up outside nursery, GP surgery etc). These threads always go a bit monty python competitive martyrdom.

OP obviously what you should have done is tied yourself and your child to the back of the bus and been glad to be dragged home.

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