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Guy Refuses To Help Elderly Woman On Train With Her Bags Because It’d Make Him Late To Meeting

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Should a younger person always be obligated to help the elderly in a time of need?

That is something Redditor KodeineKid99, a 23-year-old healthcare company employee, struggled with during his commute on a train in a metropolitan city in America.

After a conversation with his mom regarding his encounter on the train didn’t go as well as he hoped, he visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit asked:

“AITA for not carrying an old woman’s bags on the train”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I [23 M] live in a moderately sized American city. I ride the train to and from work every day due to not having a car and it being overall cheaper.”

“During these train rides I like to listen to music. I don’t like to talk to people as it is normally early in the morning.”

“Important to story is that I am a software engineer for a moderately sized health care company. I have a decent amount of responsibility and if I mess up there can be serious consequences for patients and the company.”

“A couple of days ago I had a very important meeting with a client in a different time zone. I had been trying to reach this client for weeks and my deadline was coming up for the project. I woke up early specifically so I could be in the office on time.”

“I got on the train as normal but soon an elderly woman and a young man got on the train. The man was carrying 8+ heavy bags.”

“The woman sat down and the man put the bags down and got off. It was obvious that the woman could not carry the bags.”

“Most of the train ride went by as normal then the woman started talking to people very loudly. I could hear her through the music.”

“She was talking about how she needed to get to a bank near a certain stop and that she needed someone to carry her bags to the bank.”

“I was the only man on the train. Everyone else was a middle aged or above woman. So naturally everyone looked to me.”

“I knew where the bank she was going to was and it was a solid 15 minute walk. Probably a 30 minute walk at old lady speed. I politely declined saying I had a very important meeting that I could not be late for.”

“Everyone on the train glared daggers at me. The train driver overheard the conversation and said he can only wait 5 minutes for someone before he is required to leave.”

“So I would have to walk this woman to the bank AND wait for a new train which could take a while.”

“The woman made a bit of a scene saying how people like me (I’m black and young) don’t respect their elders.”

“Eventually another woman said she would carry her bags. We waited 5 minutes and they weren’t even down the ramp by the time the train left. I would have 100% missed my meeting.”

“The entire train ride everyone glared and whispered about me. I ride the train at a similar time every day so I see the same people every day. They all glare at me and whisper bad things.”

“I told my mom about this situation and she said that I should have more respect for my elders and that carrying her bag would have at least shut her up.”


Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:

  • NTA – Not the A**hole
  • YTA – You’re the A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everybody Sucks Here

A majority of Redditors thought he was not the a**hole for prioritizing his job over the needs of his fellow passenger.

“NTA. People can’t expect you to drop everything to carry bags for half an hour. It’s different if it’s maybe just helping her off the bus.” – ashley5748

“NTA…Everyone glares daggers at you because it’s easier than offering their own time and effort. You had somewhere to be with little time to spare. While I believe that people in general should be more helpful to one another, this situation was simply not feasible for you.” – RoyallyOakie

“I can’t be the only one who finds it utterly ridiculous to expect any passenger at all to get off at a stop not their own, right? It’s not about the old lady, or the bags, or the glares.”

“We’ll kinda all of those, but the audacity to frame adjusting your day in a massive negative way for a stranger as ‘respect.’ Respect is not helping others just because they demand it. Respect is treating them with dignity and listening to what they have to say.” – Cr4ckshooter

“NTA Glare right back. You’re not a pack horse. This is wrong on so many levels.”

“As an old lady myself, this makes me furious. That lady should have found an alternate way to get home with her packages.”

“I was furious at the woman, not him. She had no more sense than a goose, coming onto a bus with packages she couldn’t handle. I’m not only old, I’m disabled, and I’ve successfully ridden buses with heavy bags and required no help at all.” – Smudgikins

“NTA. The old lady could have take a taxi and/or hired help for the day. Her problems are not your problems. And she obviously knew how to play the system; that is, how to appeal to the sympathies of strangers.”

“You will note that if all those AHs judging you had helped, they could have got it done in short time.” – CSWind6

“NTA. I’m very sorry that the woman had so many bags she couldn’t carry them, but 1) this is a pandemic and she is a stranger and 2) you have no idea who this woman is or what she’s up to, I realize she’s elderly but not only are you wandering off with a stranger, but she is also wandering off with a stranger.”

“You don’t know her, she doesn’t know you, and this is why we don’t wander off with strangers. If she wanted her bags placed on a bench outside of the station, have at it. But you are under no obligation to be this woman’s errand boy indefinitely while you need to be at work. NTA.” – MerryE

In edit, the OP clarified a few points mentioned in the thread.

“I didn’t exactly mean for this to be about race so much. I did get ‘racist vibes’ but people from that area of town tend to think that way so I’m used to it.”

“For those saying my mom is wrong for saying that. She grew up right after the civil rights movement in a predominately white area. She experienced a lot of racism and always told us that when situations get dangerous it is better to follow along rather than get arrested or worse.”

“Not saying this old woman was going to do anything but that is the background to my mom’s statement.”

“For those who don’t believe this would happen in America. The train goes through a suburban area full of pretentious people. I have seen a lot worse things happen from people from that area.”

“A woman once threatened to call the police on the driver because he wouldn’t let her 10 year old drive the train.”

“And for those who care about the meeting… it went very well.”

Overall, Redditors thought the OP should not have felt obligated at that moment to put his work reputation on the line for a philanthropic detour with a complete stranger.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo