Trying to give strangers a little respect is the bare minimum we can do in this life. But we can’t always predict how others will respond to our actions.
Redditor inconsideredf was caught between being very polite to another bus passenger and their own comfort for a ten-hour trip. When the original poster (OP) chose to move to another seat, it led to a disagreement with her former seatmate.
OP doesn’t think they were rude, but the sensitive nature of why she had to change seats has the other bus passenger upset with her. To figure out if she was wrong, OP decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit about what happened.
She is very self-aware of how the situation sounds.
“AITA for wanting to switch seats on the bus because of an overweight woman sitting on next to me?”
But does she have a good reason for wanting to move?
“I(22F[emale]) was taking a 10hour bus. The seats were tiny and considering I am pretty skinny I was fitting normally. However, my seat mate was a severely overweight lady around 30.”
“I didn’t wanna be mean so I shoved myself in the window and even then our sides were joined and I was feeling like she was leaning on me. I was by the window and her by the aisle.”
“I glanced back and saw a grandma sitting by herself and smiled at her and asked if she minds if I join her.”
“She smiled and nodded and the lady next to me frowned and said. ‘Is there a problem?’ I told her honestly I was cramping and had no space to even shift around.”
“This woman got so upset after that and started saying I was fat-phobic, skinny hoe, a-hole.. I told her honestly I cannot last 10 hours like this and I am not staying in the seat to save her feelings and she can think whatever she wants.”
“She then proceeded to make an hour long phone call calling me white trash and what not. My mom said I should have waited for a rest stop and just sat down behind the lady as opposed to saying she has left me no space.”
“I don’t know, I don’t think I was mean. AITA?”
OP tried to politely switch seats, but the bus passenger pushed the issue. On the other hand, OP was switching because of the passenger’s weight and the passenger was offended.
Who is the jerk here?
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for switching seats on the bus because of another passenger’s weight by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
While the sensitive issue of weight is included in this scenario, the main reason OP changed seats was comfort. It’d be difficult to ride for ten-hours pressed against the window to try and give your seatmate a little room.
OP tried to be as reasonable about it as they could. It mostly came down to their seatmate turning this into an issue.
The board voted OP was NTA.
“Seats are (rightly or wrongly) designed with height/size parameters in mind. If people don’t fit those, adjustments are required (like you moving).”
“As long as you made it out to be a practical necessity and not out of disgust, NTA.” – mzmorrison
“NTA, you were uncomfortable and solved the problem in a kind and respectful way, she’s the one who made it into an issue.”
“Did she want you to sit cramped for 10 hrs just to save her feelings? And then she proceeded to body shame you, which is totally an A-hole move.”
“Sorry you had to deal with this, and I feel sorry for anyone else who gets trapped next to this woman.” – ClownFacedNinja
“Exactly. Now they both had more space. Obviously she did not care if OP was uncomfortable.”
“I’m a chunky mama. Prefer not to say my weight, but over 200 at 5’4. If someone moved like this, yeah, I would be a little embarrassed because it was obviously because of me squishing her.”
“But no way would I call her out. She did nothing wrong but make both of them more comfortable because a considerate larger person is trying very hard to contain their girth and not encroach on the other person’s space” – Corduroycat1
“NTA. You have a right to be comfortable on a long journey. This is why airlines make people over a certain size take 2 seats.”
“Perhaps the bus company should do the same.” – MerlinBiggs
“Nta, and not fat phobic???”
“Its called personal space, and everyone I know would enjoy having that??? Sounds as if the woman was looking for a fight seeing as you didn’t say anything to her until she decided to confront you about your own reasonable reasons for wanting to relocate.” – ReinbaoPawniez
“Yeah, she was definitely looking for a fight. Any other person in that situation would’ve been relieved that OP decided to swap seats because that’d mean that they would get some more room instead of pressing up on a stranger.” – etrinken
“NTA. You paid for a seat, she was infringing on the space you paid for.”
“If she cannot fit in her alloted space, it’s her responsibility to purchase more space. You had every right to move.” – salmonberrycreek
“NTA. She’s projecting to cause drama, I’m not going to say her motivations but some people just like drama and see a benefit in it.”
“You are allowed to, and it is morally acceptable, to immediately advocate for your own needs when you’re uncomfortable.”
“Like you don’t get any points for being uncomfortable for several hours just to possibly avoid teeing this woman off that you were uncomfortable because she was encroaching on your space” – JCBashBash
However, because the central point that OP made was about the seatmate making things uncomfortable, some commenters took that as their queue to make bigoted comments.
The fatphobia in some comments was quickly squashed by other commenters.
“NTA. Fat activists seem to think that the world should shift to accommodate their bulging waistlines and that everyone else should be uncomfortable so that they don’t have to acknowledge their own corpulence.”
“If you can’t fit in a single seat, buy two seats.”
“Also, why would this woman complain about having more space? I would never be annoyed if someone moved away from me on a bus, it’s more room for me.” – TheMidnightHandyman
“I agree the OP is not the AH, but do you think your assessment of overweight people is a bit extreme lol?”
“I’ve never known an overweight friend that thinks that ‘the world should shift to accommodate their bulging waistlines and that everyone else should be uncomfortable so that they don’t have to acknowledge their own corpulence.’”
“This actually made me laugh.”
“I find that most people, regardless of size, are generally polite. In this instance the woman was rude, mean, and confrontational — but this could be anyone of any size, creed, race, age, religion, gender, age, etc.”
“Her attitude and size are mutually exclusive, and do not reflect on any other like-sized fat people.”
“Your statement in itself was fat phobic.” – DebunkedAgain
“Honestly most overweight people are the opposite. Desperately trying not to disturb anyone with their size and woefully uncomfortable in the situation.”
“It’s a different level of anxiety trying to move through the world. And people like the one you’re replying to are the exact reason for that.” – Agreeable-Tale9729
“I’ve been fat and I’ve been thin, and everything in-between, so I am coming from all-inclusive neutral perspective when I speak.”
“It has been my experience that life is fantastically easier when you are thin. They’ve done scientific studies on this and people that are thin are perceived to be ‘better.’”
“Specifically, one study that had children compare a picture of a fat person and a skinny person the results were almost 100% that children perceived the thin person to be prettier/ more handsome, smarter, etc. And the gender didn’t matter— the result was the same.”
“What this says is that parents teach and perpetuate fat shaming and fat phobia.”
“This behavior is then reinforced by a society that devalues overweight people and likewise idealizes thinness. And of course we all know the pressures to ‘be thin’ have resulted in endless cases of body dysmorphia and eating disorders.”
“I think I could write a book on this topic as I am well versed in it, but I will keep it short by simply saying that I agree with you. This world would be a much better place if all stereotypes were dropped but unfortunately I don’t ever see this happening.” – DebunkedAgain
OP had every right to move and try to make things more comfortable for both herself and her former seatmate. While it might have been a little embarrassing for the bus passenger, she didn’t have to make it worse by trying to call out OP.