[UPDATE on Friday at 12:25pm: Here's the guy's side of the story.]
So you're standing in a crowded train. A person (or a group of people) who look like they would need a seat board it. And you glance down to see that there is what seems to be an able-bodied person seated in the "Reserved" seat, or indeed any other seat within the carriage nearby.
Would you ask that person to stand up for the passenger(s) in need?
That's exactly what train commuter Celine Chia did:
(Editors' note: Chia took down her Facebook post, or changed her privacy settings, so we've reproduced screenshots of it here.)
In a now-viral post she penned in her anger on Thursday night, Chia recounted her experience with what she describes as "a fully abled [sic] bodied, well functioning man", whom she asked to stand up to allow a lady, with her young son in her arms, to be seated.
Instead of the usual embarrassed "Sorry" or "Sure" (followed by the person standing up) that one would expect, though, the stoutly-built man said no — she wrote, quoting him, "It's my choice and I am NOT giving up the seat to her".
A dramatic exchange then followed:
'But you do understand the seat you're on is for the needy ones', I explained.
'So what, its my choice & I'm tired after work', he replied nonchalantly.
'Then I am embarrassed to be standing in front of you.' I said.
'You shouldn't be, cos I am not even embarrassed of myself!'
Thankfully, a comment from the beneficiary herself, who goes by the name Clare Zhang, reveals that the lady seated beside this man stood up to let her sit down — although because her son was kicking the passengers on either side of her, she stood up, to allow her elderly mother to sit down:
Incidentally, as it turns out, this whole thing led to two old secondary schoolmates (Zhang and Chia) reconnecting:
The post has so far (till Friday morning) been shared more than 8,000 times on Facebook, but it seems that not everyone agrees with Chia's position on the matter.
A sampling of the comments on this HardwareZone forum thread, for instance:
What they said in summary:
- Perhaps the guy has medical problems he chose not to talk about.
- If you paid your train fare, you have an equal right to a seat. And it's your choice whether or not to give it up to someone who might need it more. No one should be obligated to do so.
- What Chia did amounts to cyberbullying, especially since she posted a photo of his face to shame him.
- Anyone else in the cabin at that time who failed to give up their seats for the lady carrying her son, alongside her elderly mother, would be in the wrong too, not simply this guy — two wrongs don't make a right.
We'll leave you to decide what the right thing is to do.
By the way, here's the guy's side of the story.