As bad as it gets, you’re never alone

this cracked me up...
Photo by Flickr user reminisced content

Am I the only one who’s ever wondered how often people sitting at the front of the bus stand up to offer their seat to a pregnant woman, only to realize she’s just overweight?

Had that thought while riding the 22 the other day. Then felt like a terrible person for having aforementioned thought.

What “evil” thoughts have you had on Muni lately? Comments, please.


  • If there’s a seat available (and reasonably convenient) up front, I don’t offer my seat to anyone.

    Also, if someone has their bag on the seat on a crowded bus, I aim my ass for it and, well, they better move quick.

  • My gut reaction to reading this was, “Maybe the fat person could use a seat, too, so what’s the harm?”

    But I’m definitely with Troy, in that if there’s room, we can all sit, right? And yeah, ppl with bags on seats on crowded bus … deserve it.

  • JC

    I’d say any evil associated with the thought is more than outweighed by the goodness of giving up the seat in any event. And when on the 22, as other learned blogs have pointed out, one is usually well-advised to avoid moving when possible – it can always get worse. So, double points.

  • Chibbs

    O.k. troy, jeff, here it is.

    As a disabled, card-carrying (actually, I’ve got it in one of those plastic holders strung around my neck on a cord — I figured I’d go all out), walk-with-a-cane, rider, those front seats are reserved for a reason. Once the bus skids to a halt, it gives me enough time to get out of my seat and fight my way to the door before it slams shut. I’m pretty nimble most days, but some days I’m not, and on those I NEED that seat close to the entrance or exit. A long walk down a crowded aisle on a moving, lurching bus to position myself near an exit for the my stop, ahead of time, just isn’t in the cards.

    And yes, pre-gimp days, I viewed all seats on public transportation, especially during rush hour, fair game for my tired ass after a long day at work. Why couldn’t the elderly and the disabled ride on off hours? I figured they had all day to travel, so it was their choice to clamber onto a crowded bus and then expect me to give up my seat (which I did, smiling and hating them while I did it).

    Now, with the cane in the other hand, it’s actually fun to study the various attitudes and situations in which people in the city will give up their seats for me. I won’t go into it here, but one thing is certain: there’s no consistency of what group of people will, by and large, be more aware and/or empathetic of my situation, as I stand in front of them with my cane, as they sit in either the disabled, or any other, seat on the busses.

    Caveat: I write this with reference to above-ground busses only. The underground trains are a different story.

    • @Chibbs hey, I never meant to imply that i ever refuse my seat when i’m in the front. hell, i get up in the back for older people, or sometimes, for couples who look like they might enjoy sitting together. i only meant to say that when the bus isn’t crowded, there’s seemingly no harm in non-disabled people sitting there, right?

      • Chibbs

        Absolutely — stupid to leave the seats empty as if they’re some sort of sacred symbol of the City’s — and other’s — largess and good will. In equal measure, when I’m having a good day and I don’t need to sit down, if someone offers me a seat, wherever it’s located, I thank them and tell them no, and adamantly refuse (leaving some people very confused).

        But then, WE’RE reasonable — I’ve seen the screaming men/women shouting at everyone who don’t have a choice BUT to listen that they NEED a disabled seat because they’re DISABLED blah blah blah — but oh, I left my card at home — and get out of those seats etc. (mentally disabled, possibly — physically disabled is up for grabs). Or, the other side, on days when I really need that seat, to stand in front of these jerks with my cane . . . oh hell, I’ll go into that in a full rant, more worthy of a story than a reply.

  • From my experience, one out of every two or three people (2.5 persons) will give up their seat to the disabled, elderly, or even seemingly pregnant. So people give up their seats about 40% of the time. I find that rule sticks in most cases EXCEPT on the F line and cable cars.

    My parents, who are in their 70s, came to visit several weeks ago. They coerced me into riding the cable car with them. We ended up standing inside the cable car while young families took the seats. Not one person offered her seat to my elderly parents. I was disgusted and even mentioned to a few passengers that they should vacate their seats. To no avail. What’s up? Do people just ignore good morals when on vacation?

    As far as obese people go, I don’t give up my seat for them unless they’re obviously struggling. However, obesity is technically a medical impairment. So while they might fall into the disabled camp, I don’t think we should encourage that label.

    • DanB

      I will give up my seat to an obese person, at least on a crowded bus. I do not in any way mean this out of cruelty but frankly, I’d rather have that person in a seat and out of the way than blocking an already impossible to navigate aisle when I need to get out at my stop.

    • JakiChan

      If the obese person has arthritis or another mobility impairment caused by their weight then yes, they are disabled and entitled to that seat. If we’re going to start judging which disabled people are “worthy” (i.e. the fatties, even if disabled, are not worthy of help) then I hope we start judging people with other problems to see if they’re worthy as well.

  • Chibbs

    O.k. — back to topic. Here’s one that had me wanting to smack someone with my cane — I just wasn’t sure who.

    I was on a crowded 38 Geary, headed out to the Avenues, and had one of the disabled seats up front (with my trusty disabled card swinging around my neck and my cane next to me). At one of the stops, on climbs the elderly grandmother with her — I’d say — 7 year old grandchild. The grandmother and child are left stranded in the middle of the pack, with hardly anything to hold onto as the bus goes careening down the boulevard.

    So I get up, motioning to the grandmother to sit down. She waves no, but I finally convince her to take my seat. I make it to a good standing position where I can hang on.

    And then glance back: the little girl is in the seat, and the grandmother is standing.

  • Diq

    To the Elderly or Disabled: If I’m sitting in the designated area (well, I guess if I’m in any seat) and you want it, just ask. I’ll get up.

    Actually, maybe that’s not the issue.

    Okay… to all the jerks who see an elderly or disabled person get on the bus, and then see me not getting up because I either have my eyes closed or it very crowded and I don’t see… don’t yell across the bus trying to bring down fire and brimstone just to get me out of the seat especially when there are 3 other 16-year-olds taking up designated, too! Just keep your damn mouth shut and allow the person who wants a seat to ask for one. Just because they’re elderly or disabled doesn’t mean they’re inept and stupid.

  • Daishin Sunseri

    What I’ve noticed is that most people are quite generous to give up their seat to an elderly or a disabled person. However teenagers are a different story. Either they are too self-absorbed or generally unaware to even notice others. On several occasions I’ve asked them to give up their seat for an elderly person and they give me a lot of attitude. Maybe they’re just too spoiled by their parents. I don’t really know.

  • Well, back to the topic at hand, about whether to give up a seat to a woman who looks either pregnant or just a little overweight:
    I think it’s a no brainer to give up your seat to anyone who is elderly or disabled, but young women who look like they might either be pregnant or just a little overweight is really hard to tell sometimes! I only give up my seat to a woman who looks obviously pregnant, but I think I must have missed a lot of women who are in the first or second trimesters because usually they don’t show too obviously at that stage.

  • Linda

    I’m starting my ninth month of pregnancy and I am astonished that I have only been offered a seat on MUNI once. Almost every day I get on the train, it’s crowded and I’m standing there with my huge belly, hurting back, swollen feet and intermittent contractions and people will glance at me then look down and pretend they didn’t see me while they read or close their eyes and listen to their ipods. This morning a woman who was in her fifties popped up and gave her seat to me. I was so grateful and touched that I almost got tears in my eyes.

    What is wrong with people? I have always given my seat to older people or people with disabilities or small children. I thought it was basic good manners. It’s strange to be a person who needs a seat now but I thought people would have more decency.

    By the way, for people concerned about confusing a chubby woman with a pregnant one, I never felt like I needed a seat until the last month or so, when I’m unmistakably and hugely pregnant. Earlier in my pregnancy I felt fine and standing was not an ordeal. . So I wouldn’t worry about vacating a seat unless the pregnant belly is big and obvious.

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