Stand up for the elderly

Usually when I take the bus, I always ignore the first few seats at the front and make my way towards the back even if they are empty. It is not that I prefer the back as it is usually the stuffier, noisier and smellier part of the bus and depending on how packed the bus is it can be quite difficult to navigate through the crowd and make it out of the doors. However, I am ashamed to say, I do not like giving up my seat to old people.

When you’re old and wrinkly, access to the front seats becomes a right of passage and as soon as you enter you expect them to be vacated immediately, especially if the person sitting is a lazy, able-bodied teenager. I have no problem with that and I try to give up my seat as often as I can but sometimes, I don’t know why,  I just get embarrassed to do so even though I know I shouldn’t. Why feel embarrassed in doing a good action?

I suppose sometimes I fear that I may offend them so I feel awkward and get stuck for what to say when offering up my seat. Umm… excuse me, you look great and really fit even though you have reached a mature age and to congratulate you for such an amazing achievement, not because I think you look frail or tired, I think that you deserve my seat. Somehow, I don’t think that would go down too well. Many old people are in denial and still see themselves as sparkling fit youths, not liking to be treated the age they are. I’m terrible at judging age and I know that the day will come when I offer my seat to a proud mutton dressed as lamb and live to regret it.

Then, you have those old ladies that tell you to keep your seat because they’re not going far even though you can seem them leaning against the yellow bar, supporting their balance. What do you do in that situation? You feel bad and would like to insist but really don’t think you should argue with someone five times your age. See the dilemma?

This morning, I took the bus with my mother and unlike I would usually do, we filled the two front seats. Coincidentally, an old lady came on at the next stop and stood in front of us, expectantly. My mother immediately offered up her seat and insisted about five times before the lady would accept it, telling her that she felt bad. Now, that’s quite commendable of her and I would love to be able to do the same but I don’t think I could as I am a generally quieter person and not as out going as her. I don’t like to be under the spotlight, in a bus full of spectators.

Someone must have been trying to test me because right at the next stop another old lady hobbled on, taking the previous position of my neighbour. She too claimed not to be going too far and I pretended not to see her, but the old lady on my right pointed at the “priority seats” sign besides me prompting me to get up and evacuate.

So, damned if I do, damned if I don’t; either way I get embarrassed. Therefore, next time I will get over my fear and do the right thing…. or I could just sit at the back.

What do you think? Am I just being irrational? I can’t help it.

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8 thoughts on “Stand up for the elderly

  1. When i worked in London, one of my bosses came into my office once,(in her 40’s), apoplectic (is that the spelling) because a really nice kid had offered her a seat on the Underground! We all laughed like drains. Cruely of course. But yeah. If they are really old, more than 100 wrinkles, a walking stick, lotsa shopping, rheumy slightly dazed expression, and are breathing like a blown horse – Stand first, pat them firmly on the shoulder to get their attention and say loudly (they are probably deaf too). ‘Here sit down ya old bat, no arguments!’ then walk briskly to the back of the bus before you get wupped with the walking stick. You see, I love old people. I collect them. c

  2. Yes we had better take care of them they put a lot of there money into this social security ,to now possibility of them to maybe with out there medications housing ,and yes even food that is the thanks they will get if its left up to congress.

  3. As ours is a small group of islands we only get the bus service in a handful of islands. In fact, here in the capital city the bus service started this year. And I only took the bus once, didn’t even notice the sign for the elderly. But there’s ferry service which had been ongoing for several years. We have to take the ferry to the Airport as well. I have seen those signs on every ferry. I myself prefer to take the last seat or a seat far from the front as I don’t like to be the focus of attention. And I definitely do agree that we have to stand up for the elderly.

  4. I know what you mean. I was on the bus one time and this elderly came on the bus to sit a few seats behind the front seat. Then the bus driver shouted, “Why does the old lady have to walk to get her seat?” Then the old lady and the bus driver started arguing because the old lady insists that she’s young enough to walk a few steps to get to a seat :S

  5. Talk about being in an awkward situation where you don’t exactly know which is the right thing to do. But if it makes you feel better, do what I do: just stay standing throughout the whole bus trip. No guilt trip, only stressful muscles. Lol. It’s not the best decision, but at least, no one can accuse you of deeming them too old or of being disrespectful and selfish. But then again, you can always sit at the back. Hahaha!

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