Pregnant Sloper in Subway Seat Shocker!

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When I told friends and coworkers I was pregnant, after congratulations I got one of two responses: “New Yorkers are so nice; I was always offered me a seat.” Alternately, “New Yorkers are so rude; no one ever offered me a seat.” One friend, a problem-solver, said, “I was never offered a seat until I wore a t-shirt that said ‘Future Yankees Fan’, then I always got a seat.” I was tempted to buy a commuting t-shirt but came up with a different idea to figure out how nice New Yorkers really are. My last two weeks of work I’d log how often and who would offer me a subway seat.

 

At 8 months pregnant during the hottest June on record, my ripe belly was obnoxiously huge. Each weekday morning I took the 7:45 F and transferred to the A/C at Jay Street/Borough Hall. Each afternoon I reversed my commute giving fellow straphangers four opportunities to offer me their seat. Due to a fainting episode during my first trimester, I waited for trains in the center of the platform ceding more aggressive passengers the right-of-way. If a seat was open when the train pulled into the station, it rarely was still available when I stepped on the train. After the train ride I logged if there was a seat available and if not, who offered me their seat.

 

My results:

 

54% of the time, a seat was available. I commute home between 3:00pm and 4:00pm before the real rush begins.

17% of the time, a woman stood up. On a packed A train a young mom with a 15-month old in a stroller offered me her seat. A man moved to sit before I could waddle over but the mom kicked him out, reserving the seat for me. When I got off, I made sure she reclaimed her seat.

17% of the time, no one stood up. One week before I gave birth I stood belly-to-nose in front of three hard-bodied yogis who remained seated.

10% of the time, a man stood up. Twice, women seeing no one else offered a seat, stood. When the men next to them realized what had happened, they stood offering the chivalrous women their seats.

When it mattered, New Yorkers rose to the occasion. For my mom’s inaugural subway ride with me bursting at the seams, three men jumped up as soon as I got on the train. My mom laughed and said, “I guess New Yorkers really are nice.” Go New York!

 

How to get a seat:

      Be visibly pregnant. Until you are huge, people don’t know if you’re pregnant or simply large boned.
      If you are pregnant in the winter, leave your jacket open with your belly out.
      Smile and look people in the eye.
      Dress nicely.
      Say “thank you.”

 

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