The Rude Thing You May Not Realize You're Doing On Your Commute

Priority seating isn't just for pregnant women or people with disabilities.

Just as you would (or should) give up your seat on the bus or train for someone who is disabled or pregnant, so should you offer up your seat to someone much older than you.

Miss Manners has called it "the fairest system." Many public transportation  systems urge it. In some places, you can even get fined for not doing it. 

And yet it's a courtesy many of us either forget about or are confused about. Do we risk offending a person by offering them our seat? Does it matter how old they are? Do people really appreciate it?

We decided to ask our post-50 Facebook friends if they'd like it if someone gave them their seat.

"I think it is very kind for younger people to offer their seats to an older person, or a person with small children, is pregnant, or has some sort of an injury that would make standing uncomfortable ... it is a small act of kindness that we all need to be aware of," said Chrisenda Smith.

It seems most of our readers shared the sentiment. 

"I was out last week and saw a guy offer his seat to an elderly woman without hesitation. He was embarrassed when I told him I thought that was lovely!" said Cristina Zertuche.

"I love it when a person gives up their seat to somebody who has difficulty standing," said Carol Schaffer.

Several readers mentioned that the gesture showed "they were taught manners," and that it's the "moral" thing to do.

In fact, none of our readers stated they took issue or offense when offered a seat. "If someone doesn't feel the need to sit he/she can gracefully decline the offer," said Jacqueline Rice. 

So there you have it. Offering up your seat to someone who seems like they need it more than you is just a kind gesture, pure and simple. Whether or not they accept it, is up to them. 

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