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Offering my seat to an elderly woman

Popularity 2Viewed 2991 times 2014-5-11 10:05 |System category:News| old lady, helping

On a recent bus ride that took about 5 hours,  I offered my seat to an old lady who had probably been standing for at least a good hour.  Though I couldn't understand her completely due to her thick accent, it was clear she was thanking me profusely.  When she found out I was a foreigner (I am often mistaken for being a native Chinese), she said, with a hint of regretful affection, something like "it's ___ that a foreigner rather than one of these Chinese would offer his seats".  

I wish I could've gotten the adjective she had given, but the context of her message was unmistakeable as she zoomed-in around to the young Chinese men seated around us. 

It was sad because I knew for a fact that being a foreigner does not make me any more considerate or generous than a native Chinese.  I am sure many more Chinese are more generous than me.  This leads me to wonder what were the others' motivations for not standing up.  

It was sadder that my supposed kind gesture was not given without hesitation.  

What was going on in my head during the whole trip:

1.) Before I gave up my seat, I debated in my mind whether I actually should for a good ten minutes or so.  Out of all the possible reasons, mine was based on my fear of rejection, that I would lose face, when she would decline my offer.  I wonder if this is normal, whether this was also what the other guys were thinking that made them not bother to give up their seats.

2.) I wonder what the old lady was thinking the whole time she was standing.  Her knees shaking, her waist aching.  What was she thinking of the people seating down comfortably, snugly along.  

3.) I understand the business motivation of squeezing as many passengers in the bus as possible.  However, as much as citizens are encouraged to be considerate of society's less able or less fortunate, the bus operator must also have a responsibility to ensure such passengers as the old lady are given seats before taking them in.     

4.) I knew the destination was less than an 1 hour or so away.  I wonder whether I would've given up my seat if the destination was still 4 hours away, knowing surely that no seat would be available for the whole trip... 

Would you?  

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-5-11 12:11
You ask a hard question. I guess if one looks around a bus and there are young adult passengers seated and a bit older  adult passenger seated but a much older passenger standing, I would feel that I should give up my seat as that somewhat older adult passenger in favor of a senior citizen, but I would also wonder why someone perhaps 10 years' younger than me has not stood up first!
Reply Report 财神 2014-5-11 13:06
sometimes It's very hard to recognize senior citizen and sometimes offers are rejected. at that situation what to do? and if you give a seat for youth ladies then all passenger will start to criticize you.      

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