A Train Passenger Was Praised For Not Giving Up Their Seat To An Older Woman

Jordan Claes
A photo of a train pulling into the station.
Unsplash | Kishor

Charles Dickens once famously quipped that it's important to think of your fellow man, "As if they were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys." But what happens when your fellow passenger is deliberately trying to take advantage of your kind demeanor?

That's precisely the situation a UK Redditor found herself in while traveling on a train from London to Aberdeen. The woman refused to give up her seat at the behest of an elderly woman and wound up being praised by her fellow passengers for doing so.

Society is littered with unwritten rules of etiquette.

The inside of an elevator.
Unsplash | Derrick Treadwell

For instance, if you're inside an elevator and you see someone running toward it, the polite thing to do would be to hold open the doors to prevent them from closing.

If someone holds the door to a building open for you, a "thank you" is expected on your end.

Scrabble pieces that spell out "thank you."
Unsplash | Priscilla Du Preez

In that same vein, if there happens to be another door that you happen to get to first upon entering, etiquette states that you should return the favor.

Finally, if you're seated on public transit while an elderly person is standing, those with good manners will often give up their seat.

Even mega movie stars like Keanu Reeves have been spotted doing precisely this in the real world. But are there ever any instances when perhaps you shouldn't follow these unwritten rules?

Recently, a 32-year-old Reddi user, who goes by the handle u/Optimal_Promotion879, found herself asking the same question.

Two women on a train, staring out the window as the scenery whizzes by.
Unsplash | Fredrik Öhlander

"I (32f) recently got a train across the UK from London to Aberdeen. It's a seven-hour journey so I booked myself a first-class seat well in advance," her post began.

The Redditor splurged on the first-class ticket due to the fact that she was returning from a two-week-long work trip.

A view of a train car from the middle aisle, facing forward.
Unsplash | Andrew Scofield

She also had work to do during her journey home, and on this particular train — first-class tickets come with their own individual seats/table. Therefore, no one is sitting beside or across from you.

"The seat they'd assigned me was also the 'priority seat,'" she continued.

A train seat with a small table in front of it.
Unsplash | Alexander Bagno

For those unfamiliar with UK transit trains, priority seats are located at the end of the carriage cars and are normally reserved for elderly people and those with mobility issues.

"A woman got on after me who was around sixty-years old[sic] and pointed at the sign above my head and, quite rudely, told me to move because she was elderly."

Alexis saying "Okay, that's very rude" on 'Schitt's Creek'.
Giphy | CBC

The Redditor politely informed the woman that this was, in fact, her assigned seat and that she should speak with a staff member in order to help her locate one elsewhere.

The elderly woman argued that the train was full and that there was no place else for her to sit.

A young woman seated on a train, looking at the camera, extending her arm over the seat.
Unsplash | Joshua Rawson-Harris

The Redditor apologized for the unfortunate circumstance, but once again reiterated that the seat was hers and that she wasn't moving.

"Eventually, a train guard came over to try to help. The lady had booked a return ticket, but she hadn't reserved a specific seat."

A train guard in a train car, wearing a full uniform with a hat and a mask.
Unsplash | Liam Burnett-Blue

These are commonly referred to as "open tickets." An open ticket allows you to travel in any train car, but you aren't guaranteed a seat unless one is open.

"He asked if either of us would consider moving to standard class if he could find us a seat," she went on to say.

Liza saying, "I'm not going anywhere," in 'Younger'.
Giphy | YoungerTV

"I again refused, explaining I'd booked the seat well in advance and that I needed it."

The train guard then turned to the rest of the first-class passengers and asked them the same thing.

Passengers on a train.
Unsplash | Kenny Eliason

Just as the Reddit user had done, not a single passenger agreed to give up their seat for the elderly woman on board.

Realizing that nothing could be done, the elderly woman followed the train guard back into the standard-class carriages.

Second-class carriage on a train.
Unsplash | Bernard Hermant

Since she never returned, the Reddit user said that she could only presume the woman was able to find a seat.

"I felt bad, but I also don't think I needed to put myself in severe discomfort because someone else didn't think ahead and reserve a seat," her post concluded.

Brandi Glanville saying, 'I'm not sorry," during an episode of 'RHOBH'.
Giphy |

The user then asked the rest of the Reddit community, "Am I the asshole?" — to which the overwhelming response was, "no."

"The train company are[sic] the assholes here," fellow Redditor naraic- argued. "They sold the disability seats as the most expensive seats on the train."

A sign for a train station.
Unsplash | Kyle Bushnell

"There is[sic] disability seats in the standard class section too," u/Fianna9 chimed in. "So it’s not the only place, I think the lady tried to pull a fast one to save a few bucks by not reserving a seat.

"If they offered to refund my ticket price I'd move. But no incentive? Nah," u/pureeviljester said.

A wide shot of a mostly empty train station.
Unsplash | Michał Parzuchowski

Kindness is a virtue but it's important to discern when or if that kindness is being taken advantage of. In life, it's equally important to not be a dick as it is to not be a doormat.