You could hear the brakes squeal as the number one train pulled into the 42nd Street- Times Square Station. The car was already crowded by then. But, the influx of dozens of people made it impossible for anyone to move. I was lucky. I had a seat.
Through the sea of bodies, I noticed a woman’s coarse gray hair. She was bending over in a way that told me she couldn’t stand up well. When I lowered my eyes to the floor, I saw she was holding on to a walker.
No one made an effort to do anything other than to clear a space for her to stand.
This woman can’t ride this way, I thought. The second this train stops she’s going to fall. I can’t believe no one is going to move.
I waved my hand, gesturing for her to come forward. When she was steps from me I offered the woman my seat.
She said loudly, “No! No! You have a cane. You need your seat. I can’t make you stand.”
“No, It’s okay,” I replied. “I have a bad back so it’s easier for me to stand rather than sit. If I sit too long my foot falls asleep. So, please, please sit.”
I leaned on my cane to stabilize me as I rose to my feet on the moving train. I’d just gotten settled near the door that connects the cars when a man, who’d been sitting the whole time, made eye contact with me.
“Take my seat,” he said. “No, I’m fine.”
“I can’t watch you stand,” he said as he Immediately got up.
I smiled at him when I sat down. Then, I mouthed thank you. He smiled back. The elderly woman, who was seated next to me, tapped me and said “thank you so much. I appreciate what you did.”
“I just did what everyone should.”
By emulating the treatment I expect to receive and that should be given to the elderly, disabled or pregnant woman, someone did the right thing, I thought. Maybe the other people who saw me will do the same another time.
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