Shared spaces can be difficult to navigate.
It can be a fine line to walk: respecting the other people around you, and taking up enough space to be comfortable yourself.
Acknowledging both of these needs can be a difficult give-and-take.
What happens when a situation arises where one person just takes, with no give?
This was the problem facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Kellyisasian when she came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for advice.
“AITA for asking a couple to move out of my seats at the movies even if it was their birthday?”
She began with the background.
“So this happened yesterday and I still feel pretty bad about it so I wanted to ask Reddit’s opinion.”
“I (25 Female) went with a friend to watch the new 007 movie at a pretty popular theatre.”
“We booked our seats in advance via online, and our seats were M10 and M11, towards the back in the middle.”
Then she explained the problem.
“We got there 10mins before the movie started, and saw that there was a couple (20s?M/F) sitting in our seats.”
“I asked if the seats they were sitting were M10/M11, and they might be sitting in our seats.”
“The guy in the couple said this was N10/N11.”
“My friend and I were confused, so we asked the row in front of us to see what row that was.”
“They said it was L.”
“So if we go by the alphabet (and the row letter was also on the carpet) the couple were not sitting in their seats.”
“I asked the couple again nicely that they might be sitting in the wrong seat, and the guy started to get really frustrated saying that ‘these are just seats’ and that they even asked a worker here and mentioned that this was N10/N11.”
“This is where I might’ve been the a-hole.”
“My friend said let’s grab a random seat, but I went outside the theatre and grabbed a worker and explained the situation.”
“The worker came up to the row with me but mentioned that ‘there were still empty seats’.”
“I replied to him that people were still coming in so I didn’t want to take someone else’s spot if the seats the couple were sitting was actually our spot.”
“The couple saw us bringing a worker in and the guy came up to us and started to talk bad about me in front of the worker and how I’m blowing it out of proportion and said crude things about me.”
“The worker went out and got another person (I assume the manager) to verify the seats.”
“At this point the movie didn’t start yet but people that overheard us was also saying that these are just movie seats and that I should just sit anywhere else.”
“Turns out the couple was wrong and those were our seats.”
“The guy started to yell that he wanted a refund because the N10/N11 seats are not in the middle (any row after M only had seats on the left and right side, and empty in the middle for accessibility reasons).”
“He said that I ruined his ‘f-ing birthday’ and I told him ok, and told the worker to give us a seat that’s not taken and we’ll sit somewhere else and he said no, it’s too late and I ruined his birthday night.”
“He stormed off and his girlfriend walked out and cursed at me that I ruined the guy’s birthday.”
“The movie began shortly after so we didn’t cause a scene during.”
“However, I feel bad for things to escalate so much, but I didn’t know where else to sit as it could’ve been reserved.”
“Plus, it was his birthday.”
“Should I have just let the couple have my seats?”
OP was left to wonder:
Having explained the situation, OP asked Reddit for advice.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses were logical.
“Birthday or not, they were wrong and threw a hissy fit about it.”
“You didn’t ruin anything, they were just using ‘birthday’ as leverage to make you feel bad, which makes them a**holes.”
“You paid for your middle seats, just like they paid for their not-middle seats.”
“Most theaters have maps where you can choose where to sit – and it’s not your fault they didn’t pay attention to what they bought.”~PrincessBuzzkill
Other responses were suspicious of the other couple.
“There were probably no center seats together when they bought their tickets and they just said, ‘f*ck it, we’ll just sit together where we want and whoever’s seats these are can sit somewhere else’.”
“They 100% knew those were not their seats and just figured they could bully OP into skulking off somewhere else.”
“I’m glad OP (NTA) escalated it.”~Biomax315
“When it got to the bit where the rows after M are split in the middle, I was like ‘ah, so the only seats they could get weren’t actually next to each other and they just figured they’d bully someone else out of their seats’.”~Smishysmash
There was also the bigger picture to consider.
“Where I am cinemas are reduced seating capacity.”
“If I book two seats, the two seats left and right of our booking are locked and can’t be booked by anyone, and the row in front and behind, and one seat diagonal are also locked.”
“It’s all for social distancing.”
“If someone wasn’t in their correct seats, it affects everyone in the theatre, someone doesn’t get their social distance, or I have seen a guy move 4 times before a.movie started as they booked the front row, didn’t want to sit there and kept inconveniencing everyone else.”
“(moving from their seats, taking another, moving from that, asking others to move or let them pass by etc..)”
“You book a seat, you sit in that seat, end of story.”
“That’s what the entire booking system is about.”
“You can only pick your seat without issue, if it’s free seating/general audience with no assigned seating.”
“Even then, don’t sit in the disabled spots or their assistants/carers spots.”
“Recliners, premier seating, VIP areas etc… Are reserved unless you buy it, so don’t be surprised if you’re moved.”
“He chose his own hill to die on, then shot himself, and complained while dying.”
“If he didn’t like the seats he booked, and he was so happy to walk out without seeing the movie, he should have just booked other seats, another showing or another day.“~Sirix_8472
A few responses tried to find sympathy for the other couple.
“It may have been a genuine mistake, after all, it is just one row off. For me, the issue is not just checking and moving.”~Buggerlugs253
Shared spaces can be difficult to navigate.
While it’s important to take up space and show yourself respect, it is just as vital to show respect to others and let them have space too.
Remember, shared spaces are for everyone.