Heading to the city the other day I noticed a heavily pregnant lady standing in the hall of the train and then make her way awkwardly down to sit on the carpet. I couldn’t believe she was in full view of passengers and no one had offered or was offering her a seat.The Temple mantra of staying calm does not apply when there is someone in need.
“Why don’t you ask someone for a seat?” I asked.
“It’s ok. I’ve only got one more week before I finish work, I’m telling my boss today that I’ll start later as the next train isn’t as busy.” She replied.
“No it’s not ok.” I stood at the end of the carriage. “Pregnant woman here, anyone got a seat they don’t want.” They looked down to their phones, tablets, newspapers, books and laptops or just to their feet and closed their eyes pretending that this makes you unable to hear.
“How bout you non-gallant suit man?” I hovered above him as he typed frantically.
“Oh I’m an executive. I’m far too busy to stand; This way I get an extra hour in.”
“And you? Overmade, overtanned chick?” She looked at me angry that I interrupted her nail filing.
“With these heels, no way.” She answered chewing like a jersey.
“Hey you, teacher,” I made eye contact, “You’re sitting there with ten teenagers taking up seats. How about you recommend one of them stand up for her.”
“I’m here to teach them history, not manners. I have enough on my plate and if they’re sitting at least I know where they are.”
“She can sit here.” A voice from behind me called. I turned to see a fragile, snow headed lady slowly rise.
“Listen grandma, you have not lived through a war and raised ten kids to give up your seat. No you don’t move an inch.” She backed down thankfully.
“Hmmmm. Ok you’re sitting in the special requirement section for people with disability or illness.” He wore sweatpants with a multicoloured shirt, seriously wrong in itself. “Do you have either because you look ok, but I could be wrong and don’t want to make assumptions that you are ignoring the rules to give up your seat for someone who needs it.”
“Umm no but I had a big night last night and seriously, she choose to get knocked up and should live with it.”
“You’re mum would be proud freak. How ‘bout you?” I asked a mid twenty guy with a suit probably rising in the corporate world.
“Nah, I heard her talking once. She’s a feminist so as far as I’m concerned she can stand like a man.”
I took a deep breath and held my hand by my side to stop myself from slapping him. “Are you listening to yourself because if you did you would be hearing the idiot I’m hearing.”
“Excuse me, you’re a mum.” I’m sure to win here. “ Do you think your toddler can sit on your lap to spare up a seat.”
“Well no sorry. You see it’s his first train trip and I want it to be special.”
“In peak hour? Don’t you remember being pregnant?”
“Yes I do but I was at home where I belonged. Not working. If she loved that baby she would be where she belongs keeping house not putting her unborn baby at risk.”
“She’s not sick she’s pregnant and she’s entitled to a career. Maybe with that attitude you should be home baking cakes then and not travelling alone with a child. It’s not 1872.” I looked at the pregnant lady with her head down embarrassed that I had made a scene and continued. “You are all selfish freaks with your heads in your phones and covering your faces with newspapers, decoys to decency. I know you can see her but you are suddenly all blind, this is a mother to be carrying the most precious cargo. “
Still nothing. “Is there anyone here that is willing to let a heavily pregnant woman have a seat? Anyone? I can’t believe you lot, you’re a bunch of freaking morons. How can you all go home knowing you’ve CHOSEN to ignore this woman. Played dumb by hiding in your technology?”
A young man caught my eye and removed his headphones. He’s wearing a hoodie and was unshaven. He stands to reveal his jeans are almost to his knees with his underpants peeking out.
“Here”, he calls. “Hey, here.” He points to his seat. “Sorry, I didn’t see you there. My mum would kill me if she knew I didn’t offer my seat to a knocked up chic.”
“Thankyou” the pregnant woman said.
“No worries. Didn’t see you. Was having a nap with my music pumping. Saw no one else up that end was offering, BUNCH OF FREAKS.”
He walked off heading to another carriage. “No worries at all.” Then he said louder on his way through, “All the suits were too busy on their technologeee to notice a pregnant lady on the floor but they all noticed the sure to be trouble hooded bandit.” He looked back and winked at her.
The carriage looked up to see who the rant was coming from and quickly put their earphones back in their ears or their heads down not to look at their phone or computer screens but to think about the pregnant woman they ignored, probably for only a few seconds before they forgot.
This is a minterview prompted by years of seeing manners on public transport being left at the station.
For copyright and disclaimer information click HERE
Photo credit By Pablo from Granada, España (Urban Girl) Click HERE to see origninal