A large number of people use public transport in cities across the world every day. But while we live in civilised society, there are incidents which bring out the utter lack of empathy among people.
While many of us don’t get a place to sit on a train, Kate Hitchens from Essex was forced to stand while breastfeeding her child. The apathy towards Kate comes at a time when women breastfeeding in public has become part of a controversial debate.
The 32-year-old was furious as she later expressed feelings of embarrassment and discomfort after being denied a seat. She also added that she didn’t need a seat when the child was in his buggy, but there were no offers when her son was hungry and started crying.
On my way home from London on a packed commuter train and this is what I faced. What has the world come to that a mother has to stand up on a moving train breast feeding a wriggling and writhing 6 month old, 20lb baby?! The point here isn't just that I found it difficult because I was nursing (although that was bloody difficult!), but that not one person offered a mother carrying a small child a seat for around half an hour, or 3 stops! I could have asked, but I didn't. I felt silly. I shouldn't have to ask. Maybe some people didn't see. I know for a fact some did; they made eye contact and actually smiled at me. I was thinking stop smiling and offer me your seat please! One lady looked up from her book and immediately offered me her seat, another lady then sat in it and when the lovely lady said 'Oh excuse me I actually gave up my seat so this lady with a baby could sit down' the sitting lady shrugged, plugged her earphones in and closed her eyes! I like to think that she needed that seat more than me, perhaps she was newly pregnant and in that early exhaustion period, perhaps she was knackered after a day at work, perhaps she was ill. Or perhaps she was just a twat. I hope not. I can somewhat understand not offering your seat to someone elderly; perhaps they might be offended you think they look old! I can understand not offering your seat to someone you suspect might be pregnant; maybe it's just their time of the month or perhaps they are just naturaly curvy and they aren't pregnant; perhaps you worry you might offend them. I cannot get my head around not offering a parent with a child a seat. Next time you see someone with a child on a train - if you're able bodied and fit and healthy please offer your seat to them!
She said that while she felt silly asking for a place, many commuters saw her struggling as they made eye contact and even smiled at her but didn’t offer their seat....