The seats in the corner sections of pretty much every train in Japan are supposed to be reserved for elderly, disabled, or pregnant passengers, but truly good manners dictate offering your seat to such people regardless of where you’re at in the train. So recently, when Japanese Twitter user @mrmehoso11 was on a train where one of the other passengers was a pregnant woman, the following scene took place.
“There was a group of middle-school boys on the train, and one of them noticed a pregnant woman and offered her his seat. She said she was getting off at the next stop, though, so she turned down the offer, and when the boy sat down again his friends laughed and called him ‘lame.’
When they did that, the pregnant woman spoke up and said ‘He’s not lame. He’s totally cool, and just the kind of guy whose girlfriend I’d want to be.’
I wish I could show you how red all his friends’ faces turned.”
Other commenters were quick to applaud both the courteous kid and the intended recipient of his kindness, reacting with:
“The ones who’re lame are all the other people on the train who didn’t offer her their seats.”
“When they get a little older, those other kids will realize that he was being a perfect gentleman.”
“When you’re kind to others, that kindness comes flying back to you like a boomerang.”
“I bet the boy will remember what she said, and it’ll encourage him to be kind to someone again in the future.”
However, more than a few commenters, including some who identified themselves as teens or parents of teens, thought that maybe the jeering kids on the train didn’t quite deserve to be thrown under the bus. Many of them, and @mrmehoso11 himself, interpreted the “lame” comment to be not in reference to the boy offering his seat to the woman, but to his gesture getting rejected.
“When he got back to his seat, if everyone had just silently ignored what happened, it would have made the atmosphere in the group awkward,” said one person, with multiple other commenters feeling like making wisecracks was an attempt (though arguably a blunt and clumsy one) to make the situation something to chuckle about, instead of letting stony silence suggest that his offer, by virtue of being ultimately unneeded, had also been totally pointless.
Even @mrmehoso11, after having more time to mull things over, sent out a follow-up tweet in which he cut the other kids some slack, recognizing that coming straight out and recognizing that “His friends’ choice of words wasn’t nice, but that’s a complicated age for kids, and I understand that it’s hard for them to act sweet and sensitive, so I don’t want to be too hard on them. After the incident, looking at the friends’ faces you could tell that they completely understood they’d behaved in an embarrassing way.” He even went so far as to offer an apology to the friends if they happened to be reading.
“In conclusion, I see a lot of comments that are angry at the friends for what they said, but that’s entirely on me for not explaining the situation properly. Looking back at my first tweet, I ended up making them sound heartless. I’m really sorry. If the friends are reading this, please don’t worry about it. Anyone who was actually on the train could see the bond of friendship you have with each other.”
“Everyone in this story is so nice. It’s making me get choked up,” wrote one commenter after reading the whole thing.
Source: Twitter/@mrmehoso11 via Hachima Kiko
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