Photo courtesy of: stock.xchng.com

Photo courtesy of: stock.xchng.com

‘Give Up Your Seat’

Written By Weetyr Goh

Recently, I was on a bus on my way to university when something truly disappointing happened.

A blind woman walked onto the bus, the white walking cane seen used by the blind in her left hand. She proceeded to tell the bus driver she was going to the hospital, and asked if the bus was stopping opposite the Royal Adelaide Hospital in the city. He said it was, which then responding with and calls out; “Is there a seat anywhere?”

I had just taken a seat near the back end of the bus and I was suffering badly from a lack of sleep, so being able to secure a seat was of huge relief to me as I could rest. At this point in time, no one offers a reply to the woman’s question. She feels around for the seat at the front, closest to the bus driver. There’s a woman already sitting there. The bus driver asks, in a polite way, for the woman to move. She doesn’t…

The blind woman somehow knew this. Turning around to continue looking for a seat, she looked despondent and seemed to accept that she had to stand. This was, in my view, completely unacceptable. Instinctively, I got up from my seat, walked down to the front of the bus, told her she could have my seat and then led her to it. She sincerely thanked me and there was a smile on her face. I was glad she was happy.

What I couldn’t believe however, was that no one was willing to offer their seat for the woman. People who were sitting in seats specifically reserved for people with disabilities didn’t utter a single word, or even acknowledge her. It was disappointing, to say the least.

Somewhere, somehow, in this very messed up world we live in it seems like we’ve lost our values and plain common courtesy. I personally believe in the concept of treating others as you would like to be treated. Imagine if you were a disabled person and the only way you were able to travel home was to catch a bus or another form of public transport, and no one offered you a seat to travel on.

Having ‘good’ morals and kindness, something which is vastly becoming a thing of the past needs to be restored into our every day lives. So I’d like to challenge each and every one of you: give up your seat if someone needs it more than you do. He/she could be an elderly person, a person with a disability, a pregnant woman, a mother with a pram and a young child, or simply someone who you know has had a long tiring day and really just needs a seat. To me, giving up my seat for the blind woman to sit on was a small gesture. To her though, it looked like it meant the world and she seemed to appreciate it greatly. Give up your seat, for you never know how much one small act of kindness could mean to someone else. Don’t do it to feel better about yourself either, do it because you want to.

It’s time to start treating our fellow human beings the way we would want to be treated. If all of us can do that, we might just make the world a better place; one seat at a time…

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