We’ve all been there. When we were younger and our friend had crutches at primary school you’d always be first to say “can I have a go?” and “they look fun!”. Well let me tell you, they are most definitely not fun when you’ve got to carry around 12+ stone through London and on hot and sweaty tubes. (the emphasis on sweaty)
So one rugby and beer festival later I ended up on crutches due to a late tackle to my legs which caused a lovely pop of the knee cap! One Hulk Hogan costume later I was on crutches for 2 weeks minimum.
I thought I may as well have a little social experiment while I’m stuck on these god awful sticks for two weeks of my life.
So, you know those priority seats which you are meant to give up to people less able than you are? Well I was less able than 99% of people sat on those seats on the Victoria line. But that doesn’t mean I was guaranteed a seat when I hobbled onto the tube during rush hour.
I’m guilty of it and I bet more than half the population are! Of course we’ve seen the guy on crutches or the women with a kids, but we are tired, lazy and grumpy and we don’t want to move. So what do you do? Youu use every ounce of your I don’t give a shit attitude to avoid any eye contact with these people, even though you feel their glare burning your soul.
But as I got on the tube, I never once asked for a seat because I wanted to see who would offer one up. I can tell you now, every person that offered their seat was either very polite or couldn’t take the heat from everyone else staring at them and tutting away.
3 people stick in my mind and two are men. No. 1 – this guy was basically stuck behind me the whole way to the tube, down the escalator, down the corridor, on the platform. Now he could have just got in before me but after seeing a girl basically push me out of the way to get on before me, he then stopped everyone around me to let me get on and then asked if he could get me a seat. I politely declined as I thought no one is going to listen to you and I think I’ve embarrassed you enough.
No. 2 – This guy was one of the guys sitting in a priority seat. I got on the tube and this older man started frantically tapping on the glass panel behind me. This went on from about 20 seconds before I noticed anything. He then asked if I wanted his seat. Before I said anything I looked to where the other priority seat was, a young girl probably 17 was seating there. I thought bitch please, this old man is offering his seat up you should step in. But I loudly said no thank you, and then stared this girl down from Euston to Oxford Circus.
No. 3 – A lady was sat on a seat, I stood in front of her, not wanting her seat. But after three stops she was like “oh dear, I didn’t see you there. I’m getting off now would you like my seat.” Right I know you’re older and might have bad sight, but come on my crutches were basically on your face. Don’t lie to make yourself look good.
Moral of the story, however old, unable to walk or pregnant you are, people commuting on London Underground during rush hour are nobs.