When it comes to common decency, a little bit goes a long way — as one college student learned on her daily trip home from class.
She wrote into the subreddit r/AmItheA-–hole, wondering if she was in the wrong for her behavior on a public bus.
The woman refused to give up her seat to a pregnant woman on a bus because she was ‘tired’ and ‘got there first.’
As context, the woman said that she often uses public transportation to get to and from college and that she lives in Argentina.
At her stop, there were “plenty” of available seats, and she chose a seat in the back of the bus.
After a few stops, a pregnant woman boarded the bus. She “ignored the first seats, which are priority seats” and kept walking to the back of the bus.
When it comes to bus seat etiquette most people would agree that pregnant people and the elderly get first pick of the seats but it doesn’t always play out that way — as this story and many other social experiments online have proven.
“At the time the bus was crowded enough [for there] to not be any seats available,” said the student. The pregnant woman asked the woman sitting down if she could give her the seat she was in.
“I told her no because I was tired and wanted to sit down,” the college student explained.
The pregnant woman responded by calling the student a jerk, explaining that she was 8 months pregnant.
“I told her I don’t care for that and that the priority seats are in the front of the bus,” said the non-gestating young woman.
The woman edited her original post to say that “every single seat was taken; I told her to go get one of those seats since people who don’t need them take them anyway when the bus is crowded”
“Somebody else gave her a seat,” which “still made me feel kinda like an ahole” for ignoring bus etiquette and common courtesy.
“I think I’m entitled to the seat if I got there before,” the student explained.
“I also don’t know if the people in the priority seats were people who really needed it,” she said, wondering why the pregnant woman didn’t ask for one of the priority seats.
One person made the point in the comments that “you don’t owe it to pregnant people, but you also [could] just take a small moment to decide to be kind.”
“Maybe there were priority seats, but having been pregnant I know that where you sit on a bus can have [an] impact sickness-wise,” commented another person.
“People really are a-–holes sometimes, and they show it when someone vulnerable needs consideration,” said someone else.
“Everyone on a bus is freaking tired,” stated one person. “I’m a cancer patient, and I’d offer the mom my seat.”
“You don’t have to give up a seat for a heavily pregnant person,” said another person. “It’s the kind, considerate, understanding, and sympathetic thing to do and if you don’t don’t do it, then you are exactly what you think you are.”
This person voted her the a–hole, noting, “then again I give pregnant people a seat.”
“Yes, you had every right to refuse the seat to the pregnant woman, but it was very much an a–-hole thing to do,” stated someone else in the comments. “Pregnant women can and do suffer from a variety of invisible medical conditions, your tiredness is no comparison.”
Not everyone thought that the young college student was in the wrong, though.
One person commented that “as an Argentinian, I can assure you the original poster is not the a–hole.”
This fellow Argentinian stated that “by law, there are 4 to 6 seats at the beginning of the bus so pregnant ladies, old people and people with disabilities (they have to show a little paper that tell they’re handicapped if they’re not visible).”
This person went on, saying that “the pregnant women had to ask someone in the beginning of the bus for their seat (and let me tell you there’s announcements, [a] visible announcement that says this).”
By this logic, the original poster wasn’t in the wrong and the pregnant lady was — and “the people on the bus [were] the a–-holes too for allowing her to go that far, and even the bus driver is the a–-hole for not enforcing something so simple.”
Another person agreed with those comments, saying that “the priority seats intended for disabled and pregnant persons are at the front of the bus. The people… in those seats should have been the first ones to give up/to be asked to give up their seats.”
Yet someone else noted that “just because you can’t physically see someone’s disability doesn’t mean they don’t have it.”
Another person echoed that sentiment, saying “as someone with an invisible disability, I always worry if people will think like this when I use a priority seat.”
That person addressed the original poster directly, saying, “not all disabilities are visible, many of us need that seat. You’re the a–-hole for not getting up and you’re also the a–-hole for assuming visibly able-bodied people that use a priority seat don’t need it.”
“You have the right of way,” another person commented. “But that doesn’t make it the empathic decision.”
“Kindness costs you nothing, and you may well need someone’s kind gesture one day,” commented someone else, getting to the crux of the issue.
While we don’t necessarily owe people anything, the compassionate reaction to that all-too-common situation would have been to stand up for the person who needed the seat.