Today, I sat in a reserved seat when I didn't see any seniors, disabled, or anyone else in need around me. As I sat down, a dressy woman who appeared to be no where near senior status said to me, "I'm a senior citizen, I need to sit." I wasn't going to question her claim. Besides, she was older than me, that I much I know. I complied and said, "Sure, of course." A few stations later, I found myself seated in another reserved seat. An older man walked in. He had head full of silver hair but his face and physique appeared to be much younger than 60+. After the incident with the woman, I wanted to volunteer my seat but didn't want to insult him either in case he was just prematurely gray. I watched him for any signs of wanting a seat. I just couldn't tell. Well, I ended up sitting the rest of the way and he ended up standing while reading a book.
With females and children, it is much easier. I can immediately offer the seat and they'd gladly take it. With some men, it can be offensive. I've seen an old gentleman who got irritated when everyone kept on asking him if he'd like to sit down. He ended saying, "No, I am old but I can stand on my own."
It sounds like you did the right thing -- you were aware of your surroundings and you would have given up your seat if he had expressed interest in it. BART would be a better place if everyone was that considerate.
It would be awfully nice to be able to sit when bringing a bike. Three times in the last week I've encountered clueless people sitting in the bike/wheelchair seats, when the train car is loaded with empty seats that they can use and I can't. When I got on with the bike, they sat there and looked blankly at me while I stood.
Common courtesy is dead.
Am 8 months pregnant and I still get the "stare-at-you-blankly" attitude when I board a train and all the seats are occupied. I once stood in front of a teenage girl sitting in those disabled seats and she just stared at me like I was a freak. The senior citizen next to her ended up giving up her seat for me!
But this morning's incident trumphs them all. A middle-aged woman refused to yield the seat next to her cos her dog was lying there. Yes, her dog. Some kind of skinny daschund-looking thing. I didn't notice the dog at first, that's why I assumed the seat was empty. When I asked her politetly if I could get in, she just told me, without any hint of apology and very matter-of-factly, "I have a dog".
As far as she was concerned, her dog deserved a seat of its own, and me and my big pregnant belly should just move along and go look somewhere else.
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