Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Tale of Two New Yorkers

Back in high school you were probably forced to read A Tale of Two Cities.  I was.  And I hated it, though I'll never forget the opening line: it was the best of times, it was the worst of times...  Today, I have a much shorter tale of what I witnessed on the beloved New York City subway system very recently.

A woman walks onto a subway car.  A pregnant woman.  She's clearly pregnant, appearing to be somewhere in her third trimester.  There are no free seats, so she places her work bag on the dirty floor and holds onto a metal bar.  
It's the morning commute.  There's a twenty something woman doing her makeup.  A thirty something woman catching a couple more minutes of sleep and a forty something man reading a newspaper.  It's the usual suspects, some youngish, some oldish commuters, a good dozen who see the standing pregnant woman.  No one gets up.
Also standing and holding a metal bar, about a foot away from the pregnant woman, is a mother and her son.  The mother is in gym clothes.  She's relatively young and seems to have already accomplished quite a bit for the early hour.  Her son looks about 9-years-old.  He's rambunctious, but not disruptive to the other riders.  The pair banter as the subway moves from one stop to the next.  Both take notice of the pregnant woman, the son  is particularly interested in her protruding belly. 
At the next stop, two seated passengers get up and exit the car.  The pregnant woman lifts her bag and shuffles for one of the seats.  The mother and her son beat her to it.  Both sit happily and continue to joke and laugh as the subway starts to it's next stop.  The pregnant woman shuffles back to her original standing position and again places her work bag on the car floor. 
At the next stop, the mother and son get up and exit.  They had scooped the seats for a whole one stop.  Again, the pregnant woman grabs her bag from the floor and attempts to take one of the two vacant seats.  Again, she is beaten to the punch by two other standing passengers.  
As the pregnant woman once again settles into her standing position, a twenty something woman with messy blond hair stuffed under a tilted fedora pulls at her sleeve.  The kind hipster asks the pregnant woman if she'd like to sit down.  She has seen the pregnant woman's two failed attempts at a seat and has taken it upon herself to secure a seat on the pregnant woman's behalf.  She has asked seated man if he'll please stand.   The man agreed and quickly puts away his iPad to relinquish his small stretch of bench.  The pregnant woman, stunned, thanks the woman and the man, and gratefully plops down for the remainder of her trip.

Can you believe that shizzle?  I have written about NYC transit more than any other topic (not true), but I can't help myself.  It's usually the blatant lack of etiquette and human decency that catches my attention.  This story certainly falls into that category, but it was also the random and asserted act of kindness that stuck with me.  It was very cool to see and almost made up for the other bunch of selfish meatholes.

There are many lessons to be learned here, but the one I'd like to point out is that hipsters have hearts too.  Their look may scream "I don't care", but their actions often scream "I do".  I'm kidding (sort of).  The real lesson is GIVE THE PREGNANT LADY YOUR SUBWAY SEAT.  And if you don't have a seat, then be the hipster and call out some lazy shmoe who is pretending not to see the pregnant lady because he's so engrossed on his iPad.

1 comment:

Brittany said...

:( I'm rather pessimistic, so don't take my word for it, but people are inconsiderate airheads wherever you go. Even the Midwest.