Last weekend I had the delight of a train journey from Glasgow to Milton Keynes, with a change at Crewe with a husband, two children and luggage in tow.
When we got on the connection at Crewe the carriage was practically empty so we all sat down together. The minute our bums hit seats the corridor began to fill up behind us and it was at this point I realised that the seats we’d sat in were reserved but the notice didn’t state from where.
We were gathering our selves together to move but by this time the carriage was almost full and we’d be pushed for any empty seats.
Suddenly this piercing child’s voice cut through the din of settling passengers to announce, “I think you’ll find you are sitting in our reserved seats.”
I answered that I realised this and we’d be out of them in just a minute. We got up to let him, who was all of six years old, his sister who was around nine, his younger brother who looked about four and his mum and we scattered ourselves throughout the carriage. My husband, elderly at 46 stood for most of the hour-long journey, then opted to sit with our four-year-old boy on his lap. A lady who walked with a stick due to an injured leg insisted on moving seats so that our 10-year-old daughter could sit next to me.
I remember when I was little I’d either have to sit on my mum’s knee or was made to stand on public transport to let an adult sit down. At the time the adult probably seemed decrepit but with hindsight they were probably upwards of 30.
When did this happen that we pay full price on a train for three children who would normally pay half, just so we can reserve a seat to relieve their poor tired wee legs? When did we stop putting wobbly and more easily broken adults first and give priority seating to our children?
What’s more is this a symptom of something much bigger than public transport seating etiquette? Is this a tiny part of the disintigration of respect for our elders?
Mibbes aye mibbes naw but the next time I’m on the bus or the train I’ll be stealing my child’s seat.