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Tube priority seat drama

144 replies

SniffsAndSneezes · 13/08/2015 00:54

This will be a bit long winded I'm afraid (sorry) but I'll begin at the beginning... this afternoon after work I went and gave blood. I used to be regular donor but had to stop as I kept having delayed faint reactions, where you're fine immediately after donating but get dizzy and/or pass out anything up to (in my case) an hour later. So I waited a few years and was recently told I could have another try. So today I did.
Anyway, I got on the tube to go home afterwards (central line, about 6 pm which most Londoners will know is generally like a furnace) and I managed to get a seat when I got on (it happened to be a priority seat, I didn't pick that one by design)- which was just as well as I'd started seeing spots and my ears were ringing, which is usually a good sign that I'm going to faint. Knowing what was happening and what do I was leaning forward with my head propped on my hands, taking deep breaths and sips of water- not making a scene or anything but to the casual observer I probably didn't look the picture of health.
It's at this point that I get a tap on my shoulder and look up, and a woman with a not particularly large bump, baby on board badge and unimpressed look on her face, glares at me and says 'can I sit there please.' Yes, she said please but the manner in which she said it was still quite sharp and rude. I apologised and said that I really did need to sit and would she mind asking someone else? She then proceeded to very loudly berate me for not moving- this is a priority seat, you are supposed to give it up for pregnant women or disabled people, clearly I am neither so why won't I stand for her?? I explained that I'd just given blood, I wasn't feeling well and I was fairly sure that if I had to stand I'd either vomit or pass out much as I wanted to just tell her it was none of her fucking business. It was only then that the man sitting opposite me (also in a priority seat) stood up to let Angry Pregnant Woman sit down. Nobody else had offered, despite her outburst attracting plenty of attention.

AIBU to think that I shouldn't have to disclose my reason for needing a tube seat to any random stranger, pregnant or otherwise?? There a plenty of disabilities that aren't necessarily outwardly obvious, and while people are encouraged to stand for pregnant women on public transport, they are not actually obliged to do so and shouldn't have to explain themselves or put up with that kind of crap when they don't or can't?

OP posts:

AndNowItsSeven · 13/08/2015 01:03

Yanbu, she was rude. Hope you felt better once you were home.


mileend2bermondsey · 13/08/2015 01:14

YANBU. If having a small bump means youre guaranteed a seat on a 6pm Central line train then I'm off to buy one of those fake ones!
After you said no you wouldn't move the woman should have either sucked it up and stood or asked someone else, not pestered you.


GenerationX2 · 13/08/2015 01:16

YANBU - she was a TWAT - I'm sorry you had to deal with her - being pregnant really brings out the worst in some people.


DancingDinosaur · 13/08/2015 01:28

No of course yanbu. I've got a replacement hip. Anyone looking at me wouldn't realise that, but sometimes its too painful to stand. I would be cross if someone expected me to explain that.


ashtrayheart · 13/08/2015 01:36

How did she know you weren't pregnant or disabled? How annoying.


SolidGoldBrass · 13/08/2015 01:42

She was a twat. It's not her business why you needed the seat (though she must have been either self-righteous or fucking thick not to be aware that you were ill from what you have described.)

But this is why priority seats are actually a silly idea - it's not always obvious that someone has trouble standing, and a person with an 'invisible' disability shouldn't have to defend him/herself to the entire carriage if there are more people needing seats than seats available.


kali110 · 13/08/2015 01:43

Yanbu.i have hidden disabilities too. I also look young. I get bitched about a lot on public transport for not getting up for the elderly or pregnant, 'obviously doesn't want to get up and hold her shopping, the young of today etc' not that if i stood up my legs would give way, i'd get dizzy or my arms that were holding the rails would be completely useless!
Yes i may have shopping but disabled people who can't drive do occasionally need shopping Grin


NappyValleyHippyCrack · 13/08/2015 03:02

I despise BOB badges. Even sillier idea than the priority seats.


FishWithABicycle · 13/08/2015 04:12

Yanbu to have kept the seat but yabu to have let it get to you so much. You didn't have to give so much info, that was your choice. "I'm sorry but I have just as much need for this priority seat as you and I cannot stand" is enough. You are right that strangers don't have a right to that much medical info but you have to assert yourself a bit better.


TimeforaDietCoke · 13/08/2015 04:16

YANBU OP I've recently stopped commuting in London to go on maternity leave. I wore a baby on board badge and asked for a seat of I needed one but I would never have been rude about it.


seaoflove · 13/08/2015 04:19

She was very rude.

When I was pregnant and using the tube, I was always very polite and grateful if I had to ask someone to vacate the priority seat.


PtolemysNeedle · 13/08/2015 04:26

Pregnant woman was rude. Likely to be one of those annoying parents that thinks the world owes them a favour because they managed to conceive and thinks their child should be the centre of everyone's universe. Can't stand women like that.


BumWad · 13/08/2015 04:28

YANBU however should you be donating blood if it is making you poorly afterwards?


Fishwives · 13/08/2015 05:08

Of course she was wrong to berate you after you explained you needed the seat. You, on the other hand, do sound pretty self-righteous and critical of her before this - on a crowded tube at rush hour, she's unlikely to have had the space to see you were unwell, she doesn't need to have a full-term bump to need a seat (could have been crippled by SPD), AND she said 'please'. She's not required by law to use considerable charm to ask for a priority seat. And neither are you required to elaborate on why you need the seat.

Her behaviour after you explained was very poor, but you seem to have decided she was the bad guy before that, rather than another person who may have been feeling ghastly and was entitled to a priority seat.


DonnaKebab66 · 13/08/2015 05:37

I agree she was rude; however I disagree withe the pp who dislikes thw bob badges. It's not always obvious if someone's pregnant or eaten too many pies; the badge helps both sides and prevents embarrassment.

I'm due a hysterectomy soon, and am already worrying about my return to work for similar reasons-I travel by tube to work and may be uncomfortable standing or being too close to others. I won't have a badge or a crutch or some other obvious reason for requiring a seat and would rather not say to a stranger 'please can i have your seat, I've just had my womb removed and am feeling rather tender.'


Totality22 · 13/08/2015 07:24

I never used to get a seat on the bus at 8.5 months pregnant (very large bump!!!) and quite frankly I'd never dream of asking, let alone so rudely.

In this situation though I think explaining your reason for sitting was justified as it made her look like the entitled arse.


ilovesooty · 13/08/2015 07:26

She could have asked someone else. Both of you seemingly needed a seat but she shouldn't have behaved like a bully trying to get you to vacate yours.


chocolatechip123 · 13/08/2015 07:34

Ach she was just 'one of those'. You know the type - no one in the history of the universe has ever been as wonderful as her and got pregnant. Everyone in her office will know that she is pregnant, how she has to eat this, do that and can't possibly lift anything heavier than a tea bag.

Everyone else just gets on with it.

Of course she might have been feeling shit herself, but people are getting so aggressive and entitled these days.

Good for you for giving blood.


NaughtToThreeSadOnions · 13/08/2015 07:47

I would agree with you donna because your right it's not always apparent but unfortunately those that wear them tend to be entitled arses like this woman! And they encourage this I'm pregnant the whole world owes me a favour attitude!

OP may not be disabled or pregnant but you were clearly unwell and unable to stand so actually many passengers would say you had more need of priority seating than she did. How did she know you weren't unwell because of pregnancy or a hidden disability. People who judge on appearance annoy me! Some one else seeing this incident should have given up their seat, but sounds like she wouldn't have been happy with anything but priority seats!


Andrewofgg · 13/08/2015 07:57

I found myself in the same position after a bad fall last year and had to say Sorry, I've done my knee in, I can't stand for long which the BoB-wearer accepted gracefully. It made me uncomfortable but such is life.

From anybody else's point of view the BoB badge answers the two questions Pregnant or Fat and Will an offer of a seat be welcome - some of women decline it and sometimes rudely which boils the offerer' piss.


KumiOri · 13/08/2015 08:01

however you don't know if this woman had a good reason herself to need a seat in addition to the pregnancy that she didn't want to disclose.


toomuchtooold · 13/08/2015 08:03

YANBthatU (I have a lot of sympathy given I also used to get that reaction after giving blood - one time I had to sit down in the street for fear of fainting and people just stepped over me, assumed I was drunk I suppose as it was early Friday evening) but I think the people at fault were the others in the priority seats who presumably didn't have any hidden disabilities and were simply sitting down there. Aargh though I hate the whole thing really, the way people never seem to try and give the help you actually need, just what they think you should have, or ignore you completely. When I was pregnant (with twins) it was very uncomfortable sitting down on the train so I would go on with sunglasses and in-ear headphones and a face on that said "leave me alone" and people would still sometimes INSIST that I sat down despite repeated refusals from me. It's the same with having a buggy, you either get barged out the way or passive-aggressively "helped" on by some idiot who nearly does their back in grabbing the wrong bit and then nearly dumps the wean out on the train floor.


HuftysTrain · 13/08/2015 08:07

Those baby on board badges make me cringe.

The vast majority of pregnant women do not need a seat on the tube any more than the next person.


toomuchtooold · 13/08/2015 08:08

Andrew I may be one of the people who rudely refused a seat. You don't travel Southern into London Bridge by any chance? I just got fed up of being offered 3 times every morning despite wearing no BoB badge and a face that said "go away". I think the BoB badge/no badge thing works as a signal of whether you'd appreciate a seat or not up till you get to a certain size, at which point people can't help but offer. In my last couple of weeks before I went off on mat leave a man actually looked me up and down and shook his head...


Andrewofgg · 13/08/2015 08:10

toomuchtooold You sound charming. I offer my seat to the visibly pregnant and disabled (my knee having recovered) and if it is not wanted I think it should be declined politely. I also pick up the front end of a buggy at either end of a flight of steps and my help has never been declined - nor have I ever spilt the baby!

If you don't want the help No, thank you is all you need say.

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