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Guy Furious After He’s Called Out For Sitting Next To A Stranger On A Completely Empty Bus

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Never have we been more conscious of our personal space than we are now in the wake of the global pandemic.

Where it wasn’t only courtesy, but actually the law, to keep six feet away from others.

But even as we have eased out of all pandemic related restrictions, staying six feet apart from others remains a fairly good rule of thumb, as people have very different comfort levels when it comes to their personal space.

Redditor Unlikely-Strategy596 was surprised on a recent trip on public transit when a fellow passenger chose to take the seat directly next to him.

When he had plenty of other seats to choose from.

The only thing that surprised the original poster (OP) more, was how this stranger reacted when he asked him about his choice of seat.

Wondering if his annoyance in the matter was justified, the OP took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), where he asked fellow Reedditors:

“AITA for telling a stranger ‘it’s weird you chose to sit right next to me when there’s so many other seats available’ on the public transit?”

The OP expressed his confusion and frustration about a fellow passenger who had his pick of the litter, but chose to sit right next to him.

“I’m a male.”

“So I took the transit today, and the street car was totally open and available.”

“It’s really nice because there were about 30 different seats available, and I was alone. I was sitting on the window seat and some random stranger just came up to me and sat next to me.”

“I was thinking ‘why is this guy sitting next to me?'”

“‘There’s like 30 available seats at the front and back and he sat next to me’.”

“‘So I said to him,’why did you sit next to me?'”

“‘There’s so many other seats everywhere on the street car it’s just a little strange?’”

“He said, ‘we’ll do you own this seat?'”

“‘Is this your seat?'”

“‘I can sit wherever I want, you’re being unreasonable here’.”

“I said ‘correct, I don’t own this spot I just don’t understand why you chose to sit right next to me when the entire street car is empty and you can sit anywhere you want on the street car?’”

“He responded the same thing and I thought ‘okay I don’t want to conflict with a random stranger I don’t even know’.”

“I ended up getting up and moving because the situation was perplexing to me.”

“It’s like an unwritten rule that if there are an abundance of available seats you sit alone!”

“So AITA in this situation?”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they believed the OP fell in this particular situation by declaring:

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

The Reddit community agreed that the OP was not the a**hole for being annoyed by the fact that a stranger chose to sit next to him when there were nothing but empty seats on the streetcar.

Everyone agreed that the OP’s behavior was on the creepy side, while also pointing out that the OP didn’t tell the stranger to move, merely asked him a question.


“That’s intrinsically a super weird thing to do.”

“Breaks all normal conventions of public transport.”

“No way he didn’t do that just to screw with you.”- Mysterious_Friend_52

“This is 100% not proper train etiquette, and the only reason why this guy got pissed off is because you called him out on his creepy fucking behavior.”

“You absolutely did the right thing.”

“NTA.”- andreaak88

“This has using the urinal next to someone when all of the other are open vibes.”- bricekrispy_


“It’s usually an aggressive, sexually motivated move.”

“If he was just someone who didn’t get the idea of personal space or how a woman might feel, he’d have moved as soon as you enlightened him.”

“Several times in my life a guy has followed it up with abusive sexual comments or touching, then refused to move so I had to climb over them to get out.”

“Now I’m older and pass the time on transport by knitting, I’ve had, usually drunk, guys sit next to me and lean against me as though it’s evoking their mother or grandmother, so they’re feeling all cosy and nurtured and get upset when I tell them to get off me.”- Now_Villager

“You’re totally right and he was being weird.”

“NTA.”- vercingetafix


“You did right by trusting your guts and voicing your concern.”

“What the guy did was weird.”

“We can assume, without fear of being wrong, that if you hadn’t said anything or had a more submissive attitude, he would have considered it an invitation to hit on you.”- 000-Hotaru_Tomoe


“Harassment is harassment.”

“Guys know enough not to pick the urinal next to the only other guy in the bathroom unless they’re being deliberately creepy.”

“Several years ago I was on an early morning bus with one other passenger.”

“A tiny lady in a hijab sitting in the outer of two forwards facing seats and clearly wanting to sit alone.”

“Then this guy gets on the bus and deliberately pushes past her to take the window seat with this shit eating grin on his face.”

“The tiny lady was too terrified to say anything.”

“So I invited her to sit with me in the bench seats visible to the driver.”

“She did.”

“The driver asked if there was a problem and I told him what I’d seen.”

“He tossed sh*t eater off the bus.”- Sunlit53


“II honestly would have probably just gotten up and moved without saying anything, but you’re, NTA for addressing it. because, that is strange for sure lol.”- lenn9n


“That is weird, and the only way someone does that is if they have mental issues or some kind of weird/bad intentions.”

“The easiest thing is to move away yourself.”- GarysCanary


“That is a creepy move and sets off all kinds of alarms.”- Skizzybee

“NTA you can guarantee if you said nothing to him within 5 minutes he would be chatting you up asking for your number and possibly getting rude or even aggressive when he told no.”-Big_Touch1732


“Also a transit user.”

“That’s f*cking weird.”

“Next time rip off a very loud fart or cough.”- PrincessTrashbag


“I’ve had to say this before.”

“F*cking weirdos.”- Gleekin123


“He was trying to get a response from you, and he got one.”

“Whether it was the one he wanted, who knows.”

“I would have just gotten up and moved to a new seat.”- Fenriswolf_9


“That’s like someone taking the treadmill next to me when there’s no one using the 30 other treadmills.”

“You go every other until you can’t!”

“You bet I stop running at the next 5 minute mark and go do something else.”- whatisthis435879


“I operate on the basis of ‘better paranoid than dead/hurt’.”

“His feelings are worth nothing compared to my safety.”

“No one who respects boundaries does that.”- Cattwo-


“It is weird.”

“You had every right to question him.”- FightingtheGravity03


“I hate when there are loads of empty seats on the bus and someone sits next to me instead of taking an empty seat.”

“Thankfully doesn’t happen these days since covid, and only when the bus is packed do I have to have someone sit next to me.”

“Seems creepy as well that he did this.”- Consistent-Flow-2409


“Some people, especially on public transit, like to mess with other people.”

“Also, don’t engage with ANYONE on public transit.”

“Hold onto your wallet.”-YcleptShawn


“I work in Toronto and ride the subway.”

“Dude was blocking you in.”

“To those unfamiliar with windows seats, you sit perpendicular to the window with one seat beside you and 2-3 seats that are in front of the window seat that are parallel to the wall.”

“To move from the window seat, you have to interact with the person sitting next to you because you are blocked in.”

“Proper subway etiquette in Toronto is: sit with who you know, otherwise give everyone space.”

“If there are very limited seats, then you sit where available.”- canuckdramaqueen

“NTA next time just get up and move, even get off that train if he seems dodgy, u shouldn’t have to do that but it’s best to be safe.”

“I would avoid confrontation in these situations, it’s just not worth it since u never know how they will react.”- chad___bane

“Oh, this reminds me of what happened years ago when I was in HS.”

“The bus was half full when I got on, and every other seat had someone in it.”

“So I just sat next to a dude and it was fine.”

“As the bus went along, more and more people got off, until it was only me sitting next to the dude with no one else around.”

“I only realized it after a few stops and it was so awkward deciding if i should just continue to sit next to him or move away.”

“I decided to just stay since I was getting off after 2more stops.”

“Worst 5mins wait ever.”

“Should have just moved seats even for just 5mins.”

“So no, OP is definitely NTA.”- fatale_x

Despite the general consensus that the pandemic is over, people might still be uncomfortable sitting up close and personal with others on public transportation.

So sitting as far away from others as possible, if possible, is only the polite thing to do.

Something this stranger will hopefully learn after this experience.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.