Monday, October 23, 2006

A compliment

Bear with me on this one. It's going to be hard describing what was going through my head. The ride home today was very crowded, more packed than usual. I'm guessing it partially had to do with the Oracle OpenWorld currently taking place in Downtown SF.

After going east in the Transbay Tube, no one got off at West Oakland. Then at the Oakland City Center station, quite a few people squeezed themsleves onto the trian, including an older man, appearing a little bit crippled and using a cane.

I didn't sit in one of the designated senior citizen or disabled seats, but I was just a row away from the train doors. I got up, asked the man if he would like to sit down, he kindly declined, I asked him again, and he explained that he had been sitting all day and that he'll be alright. I decided to respect his decision and sat back down (He later sat down in a senior seat after a passenger left at the next station).

A few moments later, a man dressed in a suit came up to me to tell me, "That was a really nice thing that you did, giving up your seat. You just don't see people doing that type of thing anymore." Since it was a crowded train, quite a few people heard. And whether true or not, it felt like there were people glancing at me for some sort of response. His compliment caught me by surprise- I didn't know how to respond. I studdered a bit, "oh, um, yeah, I felt it was something I should do." Let me tell you, however, what was going through my head at the point and after.

1) I don't always give up to everyone with gray hair. I've explained this in one of my first posts- I've had people (with gray hair) get mad at me for asking them if they need to sit down since they are not senior citizen age. However, I do give up my seat always (no matter where I am seated, like today, in a "regular" seat) for anyone who appears to be handicapped, pregnant, or a "true" senior citizen. So, his comment made me a little sheepish since I am not always so "noble".

2) I also felt weird that so many people were around while he said that. I didn't do it to get "attention". The worst part was, after that, at every stop, I felt obligated to give up my seat for anyone who looks like that might be around the 60+ age. I am not imagining this, but each time someone older walked in, I saw a couple people look at me to see if I will do something. Anyhow, I ended up just getting up and stood the rest of the ride. I rather not feel like I am "expected" to do the "right" thing.

Weird thought process, I know. You just have to be there to understand I guess. It's sad that giving up a seat to someone who is more in need has become such a rarity that it needs to draw attention. If you refer back to all the comments going back and forth in my previous posts about giving up your seat to the handicapped, seniors or pregnant women, you'll realize how selfish our society has become.


Anonymous said...

You've just had a view into the world that I, as a under-40 male, live in everyday. I cannot sit anywhere near the train doors for the constant uncomfortable feeling that I should give up my seat for every woman, older person, handicapped, etc, person that enters the train. I always sit at least a row or two from the doors just to be comfortable while sitting....

Anonymous said...

I don't understand your reasoning in many of your posts. Why don't you just ride a few stations back in the evenings and then get an inside seat near the middle of the car. All of your BART seating problems would be solved!! But then again you wouldn't have anything to post about. Never mind.