Wednesday, July 11, 2007

You know who you are, and yes, you're guilty

The handicapped seats really stir-up a lot of controversy especially in crowded trains such as this morning's. Every single one of the handicapped seats were taken by able-bodied people today. Then, a frail, elderly woman with a cane walked in. appeared to be in her 80s and was visibly having difficulty walking. I was standing in the middle of the train aisle, sandwiched between passengers, and far from the entrance where she entered. But the 8 able-bodied passengers seated in the handicapped seats by the door (2 were from the flip-down seats) did not bother to get up for her.

I started observing their behavior because I found their (lack of) action ridiculous. The elderly woman was shaking from left to right- she CANNOT stand! There were 5 females and 3 males in the 8 handicapped seats (men, I'm not picking on you guys ok?) 6 of them at one point saw the old woman from the corner of their eyes but continued to read their books, magazines, or Blackberries. They even held their reading materials over their eyes as if that justified them not seeing the poor woman. The other 2 were "sleeping" but conveniently woke up at their stop 10 minutes later.

The poor old woman didn't ask for the seats. She just stood there, holding on to dear life, swinging miserably from left to right. Standing passengers around here didn't say anything on her behalf but then again, the 8 passengers seats in the handicapped seats really should have already gotten off for her.

Finally, a man seated 3 rows away got up and helped her to his seat. The behavior of those 8 people was just insanely irresponsible. I don't know how they can live with themselves.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

many are the feral wasters of oxygen

Anonymous said...

what an outrage. i bet many of these people were young - young people these days have no respect for anything.

Anonymous said...

If they were "young" people, then I would blame "old" people for not teaching them respect for others

Anonymous said...

I am curious to know if the author was sitting or standing.

Anonymous said...

my pet peeve is when i get on my bus in the morning and there are seniors camped out in the back rows. its bad enough that the bus gets crowded, but why not take the seats that are federally designated for seniors, especially when the bus is friggin empty.

Anonymous said...

I watched the same scenario last night with an elderly gentlemen...and can i say...all of the business folks stayed in the handicapped seats and didn't move. I have seen this so many times and it's "professionals" that don't move---I have seen the "young" get up from their seat but the businessmen especially, will not move!

Anonymous said...

You're curious to know if the author was sitting or standing. Well then why don't you read the post, the answer is halfway down the first paragraph. Idiot!

Popeye said...

The Author was standing.
Its better in the Muni buses, part of the reason is folks around you who may be standing etc do appreciate your getting up for the elderly and persons with many bags :D

Anonymous said...

you mean many "pink" bags.

i say if you cant stand for 20 minutes, don't travel all the way downtown to buy your live chickens.

Anonymous said...

There is that "Federal regulations require..." sticker over the accessibility seats. Some days I'm tempted to read it out loud. Really loud.

Other times I'm tempted to make a point of sitting in that seat because I can be counted on to relinquish it when necessary, unlike a lot of other people. (That includes any seat, not just the ones by the doors. Call me a fool, but a chivalrous fool.) I have actually had strapping youths sit down in the seat I just vacated for some elder before they could get there. I have learned the hard way to offer my seat vocally before getting up.

bartmusings said...

I was standing....in the aisle sandwiched between passengers. I was probably about 12 feet away from the "scene". If I was right there, I definitely would have jumped up to give her my seat.

bartmusings said...

These seats always tend to cause controversy. I think a year ago, I posted a comment about how we should give up seats for very pregnant women, and a man got pissed at me for saying that. I do feel bad for the men because they are always the first expected to give up their seats. I give up seats for elderly, people with crutches and visible injury, people with disabilities, very pregnant women, little kids, parents with babies, and sometimes overweight people who look uncomfortable standing.

bartmusings said...

in response to the live chicken and pink bag comment...funny! some people, especially poor elderly, can only afford food in places like oakland chinatown though. i've never shopped there for groceries but i heard it's a heck of a lot cheaper than safeway.

Anonymous said...

i think that if someone is in need of a seat, the person to stand up should be the person who is more closely related (genetically) to the person in need.

if you wont stand up for your own grandmother, why should i?

having said that... if you have trouble standing on public transit, don't travel during commute hours.

A bike riding bart user said...

rather than musing about this on some interweb b.s, how about you actually say something to the knuckle-heads that are occuping these seats.

Anonymous said...

usually, i'll be more likely to stand for old African American ladies (me being Mexican) than for anyone else.

bartmusings said...

to bike riding bart user, i would have but i was more than half a train away in between at least 12 people. like i said, if i was within 5 feet, i definitely would have said something or done something. i have in the past. i guess i wasn't "heroic" enough to push my way through people to ask someone to get up for the old lady. my bad i guess.

Anonymous said...

since these offenders are mostly *youths*, it stands to reason that whether you say something or not, they won't listen. you'll probably just end up causing a scene... one of the *youths* might even pull out a gun.

Anonymous said...

if these offenders were working professionals, then i don't know what to say... except that they must be assholes in general (both men and women).

Tom said...

To anonymous who asked "if you wont stand up for your own grandmother, why should i?"

To rephrase your question slightly: "Why should I be a decent human being when nobody else is?" Congrats on sinking to the lowest common denominator.

I sat in the accessibility seat on the way home. An elderly gentleman boarded, and I vacated the seat. He was delighted, and we had a nice conversation about his recent travels in Europe. Second, the fellow in the next seat over saw me get up and removed his backpack from the seat next to him so I could sit down. Courtesy can be contagious.

Anonymous said...

I just avoid sitting there no matter what.
I've been injured and didn't want to stand for the 35+ bart ride but considering I'm young and "look" healthy I rather avoid the dirty looks.
Women, both young (20-30) and a bit older (35+) act like they're entitled to those seats. You're not exempt from the guidelines either you know. Just because your a "woman" doesn't mean you should get that seat just because.

Anonymous said...

I am disabled. In this situation YOU need to say loudly "Do you need a seat? Let me help you get one of these disabled seats." Hold onto the disabled person or be ready to in case they fall. Then ask one of the people to get up. It's federal law that they be yielded. If they refuse call the driver who will order someone to move. If they don't ask the driver to call BART police. If others stand by the slobs will continue to sit (by).

bartmusings said...

I've never even thought that because I am a woman, I should get a seat, any seat. No way! I don't ever think that and I don't know where a couple of you get that impression from.

I'm talking about both men and women who refuse to give up their seats for someone more in need, whether that someone is a man or woman.

Anonymous said...

It might be this comment (isn't it exciting to know that people like your blog enough to read all the back posts?) :

I know we live in a society where women demand the same rights and opportunities as men but I consider certain things common courtesy and will raise my future son, if I have one, to honor them. For example, always give up their seat to females, hold the door for females, give up a taxi to a female hailing a cab too....etc.

I know that was last August and you've clarified since then. Just pointing out a possible source.

Either that or it might be that "you" is not "you, personally," but a generic reference to "you women who act entitled to the seat even without being old, injured, or otherwise obviously in more need."

Anonymous said...

I'll resist temptation. I won't complain about those riders lack of consideration. I'll just make a promise that you can always count on me to give that seat away to someone who needs it more than I.

I love this city!

Anonymous said...

Okay, guest rant... ;)

This morning, I have to stand when I get on. I'm the only one standing in my end of the car. At the next station someone gets up from their seat and exits the train. As I am in the act of removing my backpack in order to sit in the vacated seat, some guy in a skinhead haircut, a "Snoozzle" t-shirt (whatever that is), and lots of tattoos stalks in the door, cuts in front of me and takes the seat.

Dude, I sincerely hope that your feet hurt worse than mine do (and that's saying something), so that your taking the seat did the maximum amount of good. (How's that for a left-handed benediction?)

bartmusings said...

wow, good catch. thanks for reading too. well, i should have said that i definitely will expect all that of my own son but not of strangers. i'd expect my husband, my father, my father in-law to do the same for all females. but i don't and can't expect that of stangers...it would be an unfair and unwarranted expectation.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I don't understand your reasoning.

For me, something should be universally "the right thing to do," or not. I can see wanting to hold yourself to a higher standard (and I'd like to think that I do this myself; I probably give up a seat 4 trips out of 10 each week, and I'm typically the only person in my BART car to do so) while acknowledging that general practice falls short of the goal. But I don't see why it would be the right thing to require of your son, but not as a general principle. There should be a logical reason as to why it's the right thing to do. Otherwise it's more of a personal whim than a standard of courtesy.

In other words, I don't understand why it is correct to impose something on your relatives that you characterize as "unfair and unwarranted" in the general case. Isn't that just treating your kin unfairly?

Honey B said...

Wow, I'm kind of disturbed by the number of people who implied that people who are less than 100% physically capable shouldn't ride BART! WTF? It's "public" transportation, not "survival of the fittest" transportation. Many older people and disabled people live in poorer areas where there aren't a lot of supermarkets or other amenities close by, so they may not have a choice but to ride BART or buses. Try living in the Tenderloin sometime.

I'm mystified by people who don't give seats up to people who are obviously less physically capable than they are. I don't care if the sitters are young, old, male, or female. If someone else is having more trouble standing on BART than you would, give them your seat! It's just the right thing to do.

Anonymous said...

I am a disabled female. If I see someone who needs a seat I say loudly "Do you need to sit down?" If they say yes and no one moves I pick someone sitting in the disabled seats and say "Can you please give them your seat?" If they don't budge I tell them they shouldn't sit there if they aren't ready to move. If they still refuse I say I will call BART police or the driver. By that time usually someone else has gotten up and EVERYONE is looking at the jerk. Name and Shame.

Anonymous said...

i am a 38-year-old, professional, lithe, (usually) nimble male who prefers to stand on bart because i find the trains so physically disgusting. (i am also a bit of a cold fish and therefore prefer to keep my distance from other human beings.)

however, i also undergo dialysis three evenings a week and take bart home afterward. after dialysis, while i would prefer to stand (and sometimes do), often i have to sit due to weakness. even in this weakened state, i have no problem giving up my seat to elderly/pregnant/disabled/basically-worse-off-than-me people.

however, i have no intention of giving up my seat to the entitled, overweight, middle-aged men and (especially!) women who think i'm being rude and glaring at me... you know who you are! i'm not going to stand and endure cold sweats, dropping blood pressure and the risk of collapse just so you can sit on your keister and relax all the way home.

don't assume that a person is not entitled to a "disabled" seat because they look able-bodied or young.