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Paul LaRosa Headshot

On the NYC Subways, I Don't Stand for Children

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It happened again last week on my daily subway commute from Brooklyn to 'the city.'

A man in his 50s boarded the train and was sweating profusely through his blue dress shirt. He looked spent, exhausted. A seat nearby opened up and he went for it but pulled up short when he spotted two children -- who looked to be about seven and eight years of age -- standing. He kindly offered them the seat and their mother correctly, in my view, urged him to sit instead.

But he insisted and the kids sat down while the guy in his 50s stood and looked about ready to keel over. I felt so bad for the guy that I nearly got up and gave him my seat.

And here's the point -- while I would have given him my seat and while I routinely give up my seat for pregnant women, people with canes and crutches, senior citizens and anyone who looks like they might faint or throw up, I never ever give up my seat to school-aged children.

I'm not talking about harried parents carrying babies -- I'm talking about school-aged children, six and up. They can stand and, because I was a kid once riding the NYC subways, I know that most kids would prefer to stand. It's more fun. You can spin around the pole, look out the windows at the scary tracks or just make eye contact with that weird guy in the corner. It's fun!

But I've noticed a troubling trend -- more and more adults jumping up for school-aged children as if the kids deserve a seat merely because they are kids. Not to mention more and more parents who believe their small children deserve to sit more than any other adult on the train.

I've had women push me aside so their little darlings can take a seat I was about to land in and, let me tell you, I gave the parents the evil eye for the rest of that subway ride.

When did this happen? Shouldn't kids be taught to respect their elders? I think kids should get up and let adults sit down. After all, we paid for our seats -- you little ones walked right under the turnstile.