We all know what it means to show kindness for another human being—and most of the time we’re more than happy to do something to make a positive difference in someone else’s life.
But that can all change in a moment when someone else volunteers us to be kind, cringed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Future-Fold-6085 was on a train when a pregnant woman boarded after him, and he was surprised when an elderly woman volunteered his seat to the mother-to-be without talking to him about it first.
Because he felt he should be able to make the decision to move for himself, the Original Poster (OP) just refused to move.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to offer my seat to a pregnant woman and asking an old lady to f**k off?”
The OP was recently taking a trip on a train.
“As a sidenote upfront, I didn’t say ‘f**k off’ outright, but I just couldn’t think of a better way to phrase it. It’s just my tone had given off a vibe that was asking her to f**k off.”
“I (18 Male) was traveling on a train. There was hardly space for anyone to sit.”
“A few stations later, when a couple of people had dropped off, there was breathing space, but there were no vacant seats left anyway.”
“A pregnant woman entered the compartment and was apparently looking for a seat.”
“Mine was the one that was immediately visible when she entered, and the people who had adjacent seats next to me were much older.”
“I wasn’t sure whether I should offer mine or not.”
An elderly woman volunteered the OP’s seat for him.
“I was just thinking through it when an old woman who was seated a little ahead asked her to take mine.”
“She told the woman something like, ‘Take his seat there, there’s enough space for you to sit.'”
“I didn’t like that she was directly asking the woman to walk over and claim my seat, and I protested.”
“I told her, ‘Hey, you can’t just ask to tell someone else to claim my seat. It’s mine, I get to decide.'”
“She asked me whether or not I could see that she was pregnant and that as a young man, I had the ability to stand.”
The OP didn’t like to be told what to do.
“Everyone was eyeing me as if I had said something wrong, but I got pissed off. I wasn’t having that nonsense.”
“I told her that I was not doing it, and she began to accuse me of not having respect for elders, etc.”
“A few others asked me to give up mine too, but I didn’t listen.”
“I told the old woman that she has to mind her own business, to not interfere in my affairs, and that I have every right to remain there.”
“She looked extremely cross and I probably came out with a bad impression on everyone, but I didn’t like her attitude.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some felt that everyone but the pregnant woman was at fault.
“ESH, except for the pregnant woman.”
“The old woman shouldn’t have offered anyone else’s seat to the pregnant lady.”
“But you showed a very prominent lack of empathy towards someone in a physically demanding state who did nothing wrong. Everyday gestures of kindness improve happiness for the givers and the takers.”
“You’re the a**hole not because you were obligated to offer, but because of the way you handled the situation.” – didntcondawnthat
“She was very presumptive, especially since she didn’t know him at all. He easily could have had an invisible disability that meant he needed the seat, and now he’s put on the spot because of her rudeness.”
“Definitely think ESH, as he should have handled it better, at least as far as the pregnant woman went, but she could have kept her nose out of it.” – Putrid_Performer2509
“He’s an a**hole for not giving up his seat while being a healthy young man. The old lady is an a**hole because she didn’t know he was a healthy young man.”
“Many people look young and healthy but have invisible disabilities. They shouldn’t have to explain that to everyone, especially complete strangers, just because they don’t look sick on the outside.” – MyAviato666
“While I think the OP handled this situation very poorly and is certainly part of the ESH equation here, I have to ask, how do you tell who’s ‘disabled’? What about people who aren’t physically disabled but still need to sit due to disabilities?”
“I’ve been fine the last couple times I’ve been on the tube as it’s only been a couple of stops, but I have spatial awareness issues caused by dyspraxia and possibly very mild cerebral palsy from congenital brain damage (I don’t know if the CP is involved in my spatial awareness issues, but I have both, as well as some other hidden disabilities).”
“If I was standing for a long time (and or there’s nowhere to hold on the handrail thing), I’m more likely than the average person to fall over and injure myself and others (I’ve been advised by my doc to not take public transport alone as my spatial awareness/lack of co-ordination l means I could fall onto the track or something).”
“I don’t ‘look’ disabled though because I don’t need crutches or a cane or a wheelchair, etc.”
“That’s the issue I think at hand. It’s easier for pregnant women because people should (they don’t always) give up their seats because a pregnant woman has a visible temporary disablement (a bit like someone who’s got a broken leg or something).”
“But if you’re disabled due to chronic or severe pain flare-ups or something else and you don’t ‘look’ disabled, people think you’re a rude a**hole for asking for a seat that you need more than non-disabled people.” – thelivsterette1
Others agreed, but still side-eyed the OP’s lack of manners to prove a point.
“I’m thinking as he was in the first accessible seat he was in the priority seating area that should be given up should the need arise and that’s why the old lady pointed him out to give up his seat.”
“Regardless, sheer class and manners should have prevailed, but alas, no. One day he’s going to have an epiphany and feel truly ashamed of his approach and attitude at this time and will ‘fingers crossed’ vow to be a better human.” – Professional-Sir151
“I was carrying a very overtired and asleep toddler once. Had to half jog to keep from missing it. Walk on and it’s standing room only.”
“As I’m about to wake this kid up and make his grouchy sleepy butt stand since I can’t hold him and hold on a ‘young to me, 18 to 21, woman offered me her seat as she gets up.”
“Her I’m assuming boyfriend looks pissed. She kinda smacked his leg and made him get up too. He didn’t look happy at all but she was so nice. Dude still looked aggravated when they got off but he was getting over it.”
“I always offer my seat to pregnant women or just people with small kids in general.”
“Women definitely seem to be more understanding when you’re wagging around a child.”
“This is something for the OP to think about. YTA.” – lostatlifecoach
“I commuted an hour each way when I worked in San Francisco for 10 years. One day, the train was packed with standing room only, as usual, and an obviously pregnant woman got on.”
“There were men seated all around the doors (priority seating) and none of them got up for her to sit down. I (a woman) was a few rows of seats away from the doors and I stood up and asked if she’d like to sit down. She did gratefully.”
“She got off not too many stops after getting out of the tunnel under the Bay, still standing people, and as she stood up, she loudly said to me, ‘Would you like your seat back?'”
“Yep. It’s disgraceful that grown men pointedly ignored that a heavily pregnant woman was standing on the train.” – pittsburgpam
“The correct thing to do would be to stand up and reprimand the old lady, while still offering your seat to the pregnant woman. No reason to punish the pregnant woman for someone else’s bad behavior.” – farteagle
This was one of those situations for the subReddit where they could completely understand why it was frustrating to see someone volunteer someone else’s seat for them, but they also could understand why people were side-eyeing a teenager who refused to move for a pregnant woman.
The greatest issue they had by the end of the post was the way the OP technically was punishing the pregnant woman—who was the only innocent party in the situation—by refusing to give her his seat as a way to prove a point.
It sounds like the OP has some growing up to do.