Person Says They Shouldn’t Have To Give Up Their Seat If They’re Tired, Splits The Internet

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Whether or not we should give our seats up for someone else is an ongoing ethical dilemma. It’s a question that many of us will have to face over and over again if we travel and use public transport frequently.

Reddit user u/TheAireon sparked a fierce discussion on r/unpopularopinion after sharing their own unpopular opinion. From their perspective, they should be free to say ‘no’ to giving up their train seat when they’re exhausted. The internet had some very strong opinions, both in support and against this position. Read on for the discussion, and let us know what side you stand on, dear Pandas.

How someone responds when asked to give up their seat on public transport can reveal a lot about their values and priorities

Image credits: Dennis Siqueira (not the actual photo)

One person suggested that they shouldn’t have to give up their seat when they’re feeling incredibly exhausted

Image credits: TheAireon

Image credits: Mitchell Johnson (not the actual photo)

There are no easy answers to this dilemma. A lot depends on each particular situation and the principles of the passengers

The core of this dilemma lies in comparing our situation with that of others using public transport. There are two dimensions here. First of all, we all have to ask ourselves whether our need for a seat is greater than that of other people around us.

And, secondly, we have to consider whether we have a moral duty to give up our seat regardless of how we feel. Though, on the surface, it’s a very simple moral dilemma, it’s an important one because it’s very practical. It deals with everyday issues, not just some pie-in-the-sky and ivory tower philosophical theories.

It’s very common for someone to ask us for our seats. What’s more, many of us are constantly in situations where we could get up and give up our seat for someone who we can see might need it, even though they haven’t asked us for it yet.

How we answer these questions says a lot about us and our values. Someone who constantly measures and compares their own needs versus those of others is someone who has a utilitarian approach. They want to maximize the happiness of the crowd. So they weigh their exhaustion against that of their fellow travelers as best as they can.

In the meantime, someone who would give up their seat when asked to, no matter how they’re feeling at the moment, might be considered a deontologist. They have a duty and obligation-based way of seeing the world. They will strive to live according to their principles, no matter the situation. Especially when things get hard.

It’s vital to be able to recognize if someone on public transport may need assistance

On the flip side, somebody who refuses to give up their seat no matter what probably has a very individualistic way of viewing the world. They see their needs as a priority, no matter what’s going on around them. So, they’ll only ever give up their seat if doing so would be advantageous. It’s these people that others might view as being overly selfish.

Alternatively, the person might be an egalitarian who sees everyone as being fundamentally equal. However, how someone understands this approach can vary. Some might decide that nobody deserves special treatment because, well, everyone’s equal. Others might decide to give up their seat to the neediest to fight back against the unfairness of the world.

Most of us have probably happily given up our seats to someone who is elderly, pregnant, or has a disability. However, not all disabilities are visible. On top of that, not everyone notices that someone may need a seat because they’re busy or distracted during the commute.

That’s why it’s so important for people to communicate their needs. If they require a seat, if they’re utterly exhausted, if they’re feeling unwell—they should speak up and ask for it.

However, if you also genuinely need the seat and can barely stand, you should do your best to be as polite as possible when you refuse to get up. Being kind goes a long way.

What do you do when someone asks for your seat on public transport, Pandas? Do you always get up? Have you ever refused to give up your seats? If so, why? Share your thoughts in the comments!

A few internet users had similar stories to the author’s that they wanted to share

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Some readers stated that it’s perfectly fine to say ‘no’ to your fellow passengers

Others, however, felt differently. Here’s their take on the situation

 


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