Home > Transit > Chivalry is not dead…

Chivalry is not dead…

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

As a bus driver, one of the more irritating things I see are able bodied youngsters who sit in seats reserved for disabled and elderly passengers.  (It’s not an issue if the seats are offered up quickly when needed – I specifically sit in the reserved seating area so I can do just this).  I recall one particularly nasty little piece of work who uttered “Oh f**k” in an annoyed tone when a visibly frail elderly woman politely asked him if she could sit in the seat he was *standing in front of*.  (The short version of that story: She was able to access the seat and he waited for the next bus)

Given stories like this, it’s nice to see there are lots of folks out there who are willing to step up to the plate.  This morning I was driving my typically packed Sound Transit 550.  When I reached Mercer Island, an elderly woman boarded but all of the reserved seats were occupied.  A woman quickly stood up an offered her seat, which was very quickly accepted.  At virtually the same time a younger man stood up and said to the woman who had just given up her seat “Oh, wait, I can’t let you do that.  Here, you take my seat”.  I didn’t see what happened but given what I heard I suspect he had wanted to offer his seat to the elderly passenger but wasn’t quite quick enough.  Either way there was a lot of laughter and even a little applause.

(By the way, I’m only 44 – Am I allowed to use the label “youngster” when referring to teens and early twenty-somethings? 😉

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  1. Norm Woods
    September 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Dude. Maybe as driver you don’t see it. But as a passenger – I see it – *all the time*. Especially on the routes in downtown and belltown – 1, 2, 8, 12, 19, 24, 33, etc. As soon as someone sees an older person boarding, the space just appears. Most of *my* fellow riders are *great* about it. Same for disabled. People just move, they know, and they accept and embrace their responsibility to give in order to get.

    • September 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm

      I didn’t mean to give the impression that I never see it – I do. The story about the youngster, or whippersnapper as some have suggested, was simply to illustrate the other extreme. Thankfully, they are a tiny minority. In almost 5 years of driving for Metro, that is the worst story I have.

    • YoBusDriver
      October 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm

      In reality the people who don’t give up their seats or give us flack when they are asked to do so are only 1% of the passengers really. In three years as a driver I’ve only had one time when a passenger refused to vacate a handicapped section when I had a wheelchair passenger boarding.

      • Nathanael
        November 3, 2011 at 5:23 pm

        My fiancee has had trouble because, although young, she has severe arthritis in her knees, can only walk slowly and for short distances, and needs those disabled seats. I generally stand up in the aisle next to her.

        She’s taken to carrying her cane whenever going on public transport just so she doesn’t get harassed by people who don’t understand that arthritis can be invisible. Even though she isn’t *quite* badly off enough to need a cane *all* the time yet.

  2. September 21, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    No, the phrase “youngster” dates you

    And that is why I always go to the back of the bus to sit…

  3. Lloyd
    September 29, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    I generally sit near the back door to avoid having to move while working the NYTimes Xword puzzle on my commute. I’m astounded at how well Seattleites react when a frail or otherwise challenged rider boards the buss – yay! Not true in many cities, esp SF.
    And yes, once you turn the 40 corner, you may refer those young enough to be your kids as “youngsters.”

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