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Aibu not to offer to give up my seat?

(157 Posts)
fatandold Tue 08-Nov-16 18:59:27

On a packed commuter tube carriage, I'm sitting in the "priority seat". It only just became available when we reached a station, and I was glad of the chance to sit down and it was closest to where I was standing. Currently ill with a bug and feeling like death, not that that is hugely relevant as I'm not pregnant or disabled to qualify for special treatment. If I hadn't sat there, someone else would have and nobody else appeared to be a "qualifying person".

So, a mum and little girl get on. Train becomes less packed. Girl looks about 8 yrs old, shoe size 1-2 (I'm good with shoes), and has a scooter. My instinct was to offer the girl my seat, but I dithered and the woman next to me offers her seat to the child, and the mum declines as they are getting off the next stop.

When I was a child, my mum made us get up to offer an adult a seat, regardless of whether said adult was vulnerable or in special need. This was the social convention because in those days you deferred to the older generation. When we were babies or toddlers my mum would have been given a seat and we would be on her lap. We would rarely have been offered a seat of our own. I can't remember at what age we were made to stand but probably from about 4 or 5.

So what is the cut off age or condition now? This girl was quite capable of standing, yet possibly because I have small children, and as a society we now defer to children's wants and needs far more than when I was a child, my first instinct was to offer her my seat.

I dithered with indecision paralysis, so lost the opportunity. Then I started to wonder if I actually should have offered it or not. Over to you, wise old MN.

Bubblegum18 Tue 08-Nov-16 19:04:32

I've had a 4 year old and pregnant On a busy bus no one gave me a seat although an elderly lady did let DS sit on her lap all the time.

ForgotStuff Tue 08-Nov-16 19:05:25

You are really over thinking this... I wouldn't have offered my seat to an 8 year old.

NataliaOsipova Tue 08-Nov-16 19:10:10

People are usually very kind and offer seats to small children - but I don't think you did anything wrong, especially if you were feeling unwell. Interestingly, a kind young lady gave my 7 year old her seat the other day. When an elderly lady got on, I asked DD to stand up. So I think the general rule is based on who is in the most need at the time - and, by the sound of it, today it was you.

user1472419718 Tue 08-Nov-16 19:10:11

I don't offer my seats to children (unless there is a good reason they need one e.g. on crutches) They are more than capable of standing.

ARumWithAView Tue 08-Nov-16 19:16:13

I would offer a young kid my seat, if it was standing room only. Cut-off criteria would be whether they're tall enough to hold onto the nearest safety rail. It's not so bad on trains, but the buses around here get packed and do lots of sharp corners and sudden stops: it's difficult for my 3.5yo-DD if she's standing, as she gets thrown around a lot. (I do hold her hand, but if I also have bags it's hard to hang on to something myself.) It's also miserable for little kids to be squashed in a scrum of legs and bags, especially as more and more people ram onto the bus.

I don't expect anyone to offer a seat, though, and priority should go to the elderly or unwell.

FrancisCrawford Tue 08-Nov-16 19:18:03

If a child can balance on a scooter, they can manage standing on a tube train.

You were in the seat, you needed the seat and she was fine.

Don't overthink things.

Frouby Tue 08-Nov-16 19:22:38

I always always remember a sign on our local buses when I was a child stating 'courtesy makes the journey more pleasant. Children can help by offering their seat to adults at busy times'.

I was always desperate to be courteous and offer my seat at a busy time. Never really got the opportunity sadly.

VeryBitchyRestingFace Tue 08-Nov-16 19:22:45

Girl looks about 8 yrs old, shoe size 1-2 (I'm good with shoes)

Seriously impressed by this. shock

And no, I wouldn't have given an able bodied 8 yr old a seat. I either had to sit on my mum's lap or stand as a child (and I have mild CP so balance not always the best).

jayisforjessica Tue 08-Nov-16 20:26:02

I was talking about this with DS's father the other day. You don't see it so much here, kids giving up their seat for adults, but the other day when I (visibly pregnant) had to get a bus, two young men in school uniform (they would have been about 13, 14) actually argued over which one of them was going to get to offer me his seat. As in, each of them wanted to be the one to do it!

oldlaundbooth Tue 08-Nov-16 20:29:09

I'd offer an elderly person, a disabled person and a pregnant person and a child under the age of around 4 a seat.

The rest can stand.

Ohyesiam Tue 08-Nov-16 20:30:07

All 8 year old I have every met have had more energy and stamina than adults.....

Thatwaslulu Tue 08-Nov-16 20:32:13

I have always made my DS give up his seat to an adult (either sitting instead on my knee or standing). Now he is a young man he will always offer his seat to someone who is elderly, disabled, has lots of shopping or is female. I know this may sound old fashioned but I am pleased that he is courteous. He would offer a seat to a man who needed it too - just not necessarily a man who appears able bodied, or anyone is own age. If I'm honest I find it quite irritating when all the seats on the bus are taken by young children when adults (especially elderly adults) have to stand.

Crunchymum Tue 08-Nov-16 20:34:17

I hope your bug isn't contagious?? shock

PetalMettle Tue 08-Nov-16 20:35:40

I offer elderly preggers and infirm and kids I play it a bit by ear. If the tube is busy and they're likely to be sent flying by adults or bashed by bags I will. Probably that would be younger than 8 tho I reckon

MouseholeCat Tue 08-Nov-16 20:38:43

I automatically offer my seat to pregnant women, the elderly, people with very young children (so the child can sit on their lap), anyone with a visible disability (or who is wearing one of those new trial badges), or anyone who asks because they are less able to stand.

If it's really, really crowded I'll also offer it to younger kids (under 12, but sometimes shell-shocked looking older kids!) because my commute-time trains can get scarily packed.

I think that pretty much covers good tube etiquette.

Occasionally, if I see someone looking peaky or struggling with heavy bags I will offer just to be nice.

fatandold Tue 08-Nov-16 20:40:18

Yes definitely over thinking! I'm not going to lose sleep, more like musing on the rightness or wrongness of the issue. And realised I was no longer sure and thought my fellow MNers might put me straight!

jayisforjessica that's nice to hear about teens with lovely manners!

verybitchyrestingface I think I was staring too much at her feet/the floor!

Frouby I think I remember those signs grin

fatandold Tue 08-Nov-16 20:47:44

I remember being pregnant (with a badge FFS) and nobody giving me a seat. I'm maybe a bit militant about that now. I made a random bloke give up his seat for a pregnant lady the other week. She was too polite to ask so I did for her. I asked politely, he gave it up with good grace, and she was very relieved. She had been standing since before I got on. I on the other hand had to stand the whole way (and my back was killing me that day). Can't ask for myself though. I blame Ridiculous Britishness.blush

PetalMettle Tue 08-Nov-16 20:51:54

Oh I wore a badge from 13 weeks and didn't start getting offered till about 35.

MsJudgemental Tue 08-Nov-16 20:58:10

Why are you on a crowded train with a bug?

Ragwort Tue 08-Nov-16 21:00:14

No way would I offer my seat to an 8 year old - and I used to insist my 8 year old son stood up for adults (not just 'elderly') - any adult.

maddiemookins16mum Tue 08-Nov-16 21:03:53

Four or under I would have considered it (just for safety really), 8 with a scooter, I probably wouldn't have.

SabineUndine Tue 08-Nov-16 21:07:55

I don't offer my seat to children. As a child, I was expected to offer my seat to ANY adult who was standing. I reckon it's my turn to sit now!

BackforGood Tue 08-Nov-16 21:09:06

I wouldn't offer a child a seat.
I would expect a child to offer (at least an older adult) their seat.
My teens would get up for an older adult, as they would have done as children.
I would offer a seat to a parent with little children (babies, toddlers) but not an 8 yr old.
How odd.

jayisforjessica Tue 08-Nov-16 21:10:42

Why are you on a crowded train with a bug?

Because bug or no, she's still got to get home. I've been taken ill at work and had no choice but to get a bus home. OP doesn't say where she was headed, just that it was a commuter train, but I'm saying, there are times when the train is your only option to take your sick self home.

(Of course OP if you were headed in to work with a known ailment like that I have far less sympathy for you. I cannot abide people who bring their bugs to work and then get ME sick!!!)

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