Posts Tagged ‘subway’


I hope to live a long, productive and happy life– to be able to contribute to society, do great things at my job, raise a family, etc, etc.  While I eat pretty well and exercise (ok, ok, I walk about 5 blocks a day and occasionally ride a bike to Uni, but that counts), there is a good chance that after the age of 65 or 70, I’ll have some aches and pains, back problems, a bad hip, arthritis.  When that day comes, and I need to use the public transportation system to get somewhere, I pray to god that out of respect and kindness, some younger person will give up his seat for me.

While riding the metro home today, a man of about 75 got on a few stops after me. He was skinny and frail, leaning on a long umbrella for support. He was wearing walking shoes, a well worn sweater, and some khakis– someone who seemed he got about. Upon embarking, his eyes quickly darted from seat to seat, and he walked half the train car to confirm they were all occupied, he discontentedly leaned against a side railing for support, and turned away from the other passengers to face the closed doors.  I was standing opposite him, my back leaning on the other double doors. Seeing his desire for a seat, I started to glare at the guy sitting to my right, about  30, who was chatting on his cell phone (there is mobile service on the metro in Barcelona). As I was contemplated to tell him to please free his seat for the old man, my stop came up, and I couldn’t form the words in Spanish nor the courage to actually say it out loud. What had silently transpired was a generational indignation of this old man, who only wanted a seat.

Sure you could say that the other passengers didn’t notice him, or themselves were tired or sick, but this sounds like a lame cop-out.

Please give up your seat to someone elderly on the subway or bus. Most senior citizens have too much pride to make such a request, but trust me, they won’t turn you down if you offer. They’ll think better of us “youth.” Better still, if you’re a tourist in another country, they might even think better of Americans. How about that?! And you, of course, will get a surprising warm and fuzzy for the rest of the day.

If you are confused, some rules of thumb:

  1. Stay in your seat if you are pregnant, a senior citizen, a little kid, or just pooped your pants.
  2. If you offer, and they say no thanks, persist a few more times. Old people are so damn polite.
  3. Not noticing senior citizens in need of a seat is not an excuse. Be on the lookout. Maybe you’ll even spot a hot guy/chick in your quest for doing good.
  4. You are off the hook if you’re between 45-65 and have your own aches and pains, are going through a nasty divorce, or currently working in the financial sector;  had a super crappy day; are a “tween” or “teen” who lives in his own self-centered world
  5. After standing up to give them your seat, do NOT look at the other passengers for “props.” You did good, now keep your head down.

As Ali G would say: ressssssssssspect.


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