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Give up your seat and make someone's day -- whether they're pregnant or not

It's nice sometimes to hear about the bright side of CTA commuting. Jeanne shared such a story a little bit ago that you might have missed in comments. In case you did, here tis:

"I had a nice experience on the El I thought I would share.

Yesterday I was at Merchandise Mart waiting for my purple line to arrive. When it did it was practically bursting at the seams, as usual. I decided that rather than waiting another 15 minutes for the next one, I would squeeze my pregnant body in, all 8 months of me.

I stood against the doors for about 2 stops, and when there was a bit more room a nice gentleman noticed that I was not just another fat chick but rather visibly pregnant. He asked me if I had far to go, I said “yes all the way to Howard.” He immediately enlisted another gentleman who located a seated gentleman to give me his seat!! Everyone graciously made room for me to make my way to the seat.

I have to say in the last few months, since one could tell I am pregnant just by looking, I have had mostly positive experiences on the CTA in general.

The only times I have not been offered a seat I usually chalk it up to people to engrossed in their iPods or reading material.

Gents, please look up and look around, if you see a lady who may be pregnant offer her your seat. If she is not pregnant she will just think that chivalry is not dead, and will politely refuse or be extremely grateful for the seat."

That's Jeanne's story, now here's Kevin again: Gents, you might want to follow the advice on the Mitchum train ads:

"If you give up your seat to a pregnant woman, you're a Mitchum Man."

"If you're very careful who you assume is pregnant, you're a 'sensitive' Mitchum Man."

Or even better: Just be nice and give up your seat to someone.


Lucky Jeanne - I was offered a seat exactly 3 times during my entire pregnancy. Twice by elderly gentlemen who honestly needed the seat more than I did, and once by a woman. Chivalry's not dead, it's just oblivious.

I am not pregnant and dont look pregnant and I have been offered a seat by guys on crowded trains several times in the last month. Depending on how I feel I accept or graciously decline. It always shocks me when it happens b/c I guess I feel that chivalry is a thing of the past.

Maybe I'm always caught on the "friendlier" bus or train runs because I've never seen an obviously pregnant woman left standing. I always see men and women offer their seats up to pregnant women. Now the elderly...that's a different story. I often see old ladies struggling to hold onto the pole while some 20-something jackass sits there absorbed in his i-pod world.

I like how LadyDay implies that its only 20-something jackass MALES that listen to ipod's don't get up for older women. Never any females though... never...

Chivalry isn't dead. Some people just don't deserve it. (pregnant women, elderly, handicapped, etc., DO deserve it)

Well excuse MOI....his/her ipod world. Is that better? Sure females sometimes hold tight to their seats when they should be giving them up but, from my experience, it's most often younger males who act too good to stand for an elderly person. Offended because you are one of those males or just because you are a male in general?

I just wait for an empty train to arrive. If you don't have the sense to wait 10 minutes and instead try to cram yourself into a train car filled with 200 people then what do you expect? Plus the fact that since the red line is literally bulging at the seems with creeps and drunk cub fans/frat guys, you never know who's gonna take your act of kindness as a personal declaration of all out war.

Some people act as if it's mandatory that they be given a seat. If they have a nasty attitude or a caste system mentality, then they shouldn't be rewarded.

It's not really the riders' fault, but guys would never sit down while on the CTA because of constant overcrowding. Take the 147 express for example. Most days I stood because it was predominately women.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind giving up my seat to an appreciative rider in need (male or female), but I'd also encourage everyone to consider the fact that not all male riders are in the best of health/mind either. Though we don't get pregnant, we do get sick or are sometimes on meds that make it difficult to stand.

I'm not offended at all actually, I usually never get on a crowded train, and if I do, I stand, and usually never take a seat. Once again, not offended, just trying to point out that assumptions shouldn't be made about "20-something" males.

Then again, I am a 21 year old male, and I agree that most 20-something males are basically pieces of shit. (sorry for the language)

I try to be nice... just opinionated and never fail to open my mouth (well... in this case... never fail to type?)

On weekend trips to parks and such, I carry my 11 month old daughter in a Baby Bjorn. Those are those front-pack things that allow the baby to just dangle. When I'm on the train I like to stand because she gets fussy if I sit. I'm amazed at generally how kind people are. I'm constantly turning down offers for seats from all sorts of people.

I was going to say something along the same lines as a couple other posts -- the callous villain in most tales is that damn 20-something i-pod guy, if it's not just some random *guy* in general. I've never seen a noticeably pregnant woman, or even someone struggling to stay upright (whether they're elderly, have young kids, or whatever) not be offered a seat. Yet these stories abound, and it's always about this man that wouldn't offer up his seat, nevermind that there are always about 10 other people in the immediate area who are just as well qualified to donate their spot. Unless they're women, of course -- apparently their legs don't work for standing or something..

I agree that it's not just young men who should give up their seats - I'm a young woman and I stand up. Able-bodied people should stand up for those who are less able-bodied. And everyone's personal definition of what 'less able-bodied' means is different. (I personally offer my seat to the disabled, pregnant, elderly, those burdened with small children, and drag queens in fabulous shoes.)

But I have to say that most younger people don't think about standing up - either because they're zoned out with their iPod, or it just doesn't occur to them. Or, they figure that there's thirty other people who could offer their seats, so why should they? SOMEONE has to make the offer, or it will never be made!

Are any of the people mentioned up there 'entitled' to sit down on a crowded train? Maybe not, except for those obviously unable-to-stand. But it's still a nice thing to do - and the world could do with people being a little nicer!

There seemes to be a common thread in most of the posts/repllies I've read on this subject over the years, and it's RESPECT.

Most of us enjoy it, some of us demand it, but how many of us offer it?

Just as I believe that both the customer and person providing a service should show mutual respect, the same goes for those who are offered/expect a seat on a crowded bus or train.

Since no one is truly obligated to give up a seat since they paid a fare, please make sure that you show them respect if they do.

As a pregnant woman with a large, protruding belly, I have been disappointed (although not surprised) at the number of times I've ridden the El in the past few months without anyone offering me a seat (it's about 60-70% of the time regardless of which line I ride). Yesterday I was the only person on the Blue line left without a seat at rush hour and yet no one offered. Men and women of all ages seem to be equally impolite, so I'm not pointing fingers to any gender or age group. But it's physically uncomfortable for me to stand from Belmont to LaSalle, and emotionally uncomfortable (forgive the melodrama) when other riders get on after I do and stare or mutter comments about how rude people are not to give up their seats. Occasionally someone will launch into a loud tirade, which doesn't have any effect other than to make me even more uncomfortable. Of course no one is obligated to give up his/her seat, but I am always effusively thankful when it does happen...maybe I should start handing out candy to people who offer.

I agree totally with Deepkid. I once had a lady demand that I give her my seat. She was not old, not pregnant. Then when I stood she said "young people today, they have NO respect!" I'm sorry but I'm just not on the if you are older than me I somehow OWE you respect bandwagon. If someone is not my family member I don't feel I have to respect them unless they respect me also...I don't think age alone earns you respect! I gave her my seat just to avoid confrontation but her behavior was out of line IMHO. She didn't even thank me for the seat!

Once a man gave a perfectly able-bodied woman his seat on the bus. Then he looked over at me and said "Looks like someone doesn't have any manners." He was obviously just trying to impress this woman at my expense (the woman was visibly embarrassed when he said this).

Yeah. Unfortunately there are so many problems in this world of ours... (sarcasm, albeit true). There definitely is a lot of ageism. Younger people disrespect (SOMETIMES) older people because older people disrespect (SOMETIMES) and vice versa. It definitely shouldn't be assumed that a male should get up for a woman just because she is a woman. I probably would, but it should not be assumed. I definitely think that people, any sex, gender, race, age, etc., should get up for a pregnant woman, elderly, disabled, or just simply someone who looks like they couldn't/cant stand.

Also, if your stop is one of the next two or three and you're on a crowded train, why not let someone else have your seat. Try to do it while between stations though. You get up to let a deserving person have your seat and someone who just got on will nab it away from them sometimes.

Lastly, I know i'm kind of taking this too far, but what is everyone's gripe/problem with iPod's? I personally don't have one, but I have a phone (SLVR) with iTunes on it and generally listen to it on the train, while walking, etc., but I'm still aware of my surroundings. Personally, I like music a lot. I like to listen to it a lot. I don't get what is so bad.

Like I said, I was taking that a bit too far, because I know what you people mean. You're talking about the dumbass who sticks in their earbuds, turns it up (possibly so that other people can hear it [ANNOYING]) and just completely daze out and are in la-la land. So I know what you're saying.

Off subject, but I personally love it when someone does the exact opposite of what the CTA announcements say. "Standing passengers, please do not lean up against the doors." Right after hearing that someone leans up against the door and gets real comfortable. Seems like unncessary insubordination to me.

Adam...I don't think anyone has any problem with ipods here. I know I don't...I have one. It's just that when you see people not doing something (giving up a seat, moving to the back of the bus etc) it is often because they are so engrossed in their ipod tunes.

And yes it is annoying when people turn it up so loud you can hear it across the aisle. I personally, would not like to be deaf in 5 years (or less) so mine is always so low I can hear everything else clearly.

Well I guess some would argue that the surrounding noise on transit is the last straw after dealing with the insanity of bus-bunching, 1+ hour "rapid" train transit trips. So blasting their music players keeps them from blowing up at the madness all around them. :)

Oh, I forgot to mention drowning out the frequent babbling of loud cell phone types, frustrated workers, mental patients and the generally miserable.

Well I have to agree that it does help drown out outside noise, however you could still pay a bit of attention to be courteous.

Plus, although I usually wouldn't talk about this, you actually really shouldnt blast it too loud, like LadyDay said. Your ears will thank you in 30 years when you can STILL hear.

Although I appreciate the irony of advertising deoderant on the CTA, I can't stand those Mitchum ads!

As a deoderant wearer, they make me want to buy Mitchum deoderant even less.

I've seen women give up their seat just as often as men. Sometimes I think a woman who has had a child is more likely to notice that a woman may be pregnant than a guy in his twenties. I'm not making excuses for the guy in his 20s, I'm just saying. Last summer I broke my ankle and was in a walking cast (the big boot) for over a month. Many young women offered me their seats.

I like the Mitchum ads. Kinda confused as to what you find so appalling.

good read, i like to think chivarly on the CTA isn't totally dead, i offer my own tails for evidence.

a few years ago i was on the CTA sitting down with a leg broken in two places, a cast from knee to toes, a pair of crutches, and a backpack. it was august, it was hot. a very prego woman got on and was clearly not feeling good in the summer heat. i looked around and no one would get up. not one person. so i stood up, gave her my seat, looked around at everyone and said "you should all be f*cking ashamed of yourselves." after that someone was nice enough to let me sit back down.

i found being vocal on the cta can really get peoples attention. once an elderly woman in a completely packed train had gotten up and made her way to the doors, only to find out that she was at the wrong doors. with a sea of packed people between her and the doors on the other side i saw the panic in her eyes. so i quoted andre the giant from Princess Bride and belted out with as much manly andre voicei could muster..."everybody MOOOOVE". much to my amazement and her delight, the crowd of people parted like the red sea and she easily made her way off the train.

so see, chivarly isn't totally dead, just harder to come by maybe.

sorry for the double post, but fyi, i previewed my last post (good read, i like to think chivarly...) and then submitted and now it looks like an empty post, but it put my comment under Adam's post from 8/25.


The other day on the Red Line - the car, inevitably, packed to the rafters - a pregnant woman got on. When no one leapt to thei feet, I heard someone say "Someone should give up their seat" in an accustatory tone. I identified the speaker, a woman weighing, conservatively, 350 lbs., who showed no signs whatever of giving her seat-and-a-half.

I'm a female. Often when I offer a seat, the person doesn't take it. It's as if I'm insulting them by offering them a seat. I wonder if this is cultural..in some other countries not only is the offer accepted usually, but it's expected. It's not a question of chivalry so much as acknowledging that sometimes there are people who need the seat more than I do, and it's OK and why not offer it to them.

I am glad that Jeanne has been having a pleasant experience being pregnant and riding the el, but I think she is the exception. I ride the brown line from Addison to Lasalle/Van Buren every day. At least a couple of pregnant women get on every day especially around Paulina and Southport and I swear I am one of the very few people who will give up my seat for them (I am a young female). This morning, on a very packed train, a very obviously pregnant woman got on and no one budged. I watched other people look at her (I was standing) but no one do anything about it. At the next stop, an older woman was getting off and she signalled for the pregnant woman's attention to make sure she would get the seat. I am generally very happy with my community and with Chicago, but this infuriates me. I am not pregnant nor do I plan on being pregnant, but each of the pregnant women getting on the train could be your best friend, your sister, your wife, etc....people need to start looking beyond themselves and be compassionate and friendly to the people in their communities!
Sorry, this topic really gets me worked up!

The 66 bus community has its ups and downs with this one - there are a number of respectful, attentive people who are quick to give up their seats, and then TONS of people who stare vapidly into space through the pregnant bellies. I am known to zone out after a long day, and just bury myself in a book and music so I don't explode at the annoying people around me, but I try to pay attention just in case there's someone who needs a seat. Though I get the feeling we're preaching to the wrong group as the people who read the Tattler are probably the people who are more aware of (and care about) improper behavior on the CTA.

I don't want to start any racial anything whatsoever, but in my own seat-giving story, I was quite disappointed by an older African-American gentleman on the 66 a few weeks ago. The bus was not crowded, but there were no empty seats. I (26 yo white female) was standing near this man who was seated, and the closest standing person to me was about 4 feet away. I could see him start to get ready to get up, so I turned towards him to take his seat when he was going to get off. He eyed me as we approached the stop and when the bus stopped he stood and sort of held onto the pole and guarded his seat from me and tapped the next closest person (an African American woman) and offered her his seat and then got off the bus. I wanted to believe that there was some reason he did it, but they didn't act like they knew each other, and she is often at my stop in the evenings - she is a late 30s, able-bodied person. I was so offended and disappointed. Not because I needed the seat that badly but because I could not understand why someone would do that. Again, I'm not meaning to delve into a race argument, I was just so appalled - I can't imagine EVER doing that to someone, much less if I was leaving the bus (I mean, what did he care who sat in his seat if he was leaving the bus anyway?).

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