A Seat on the Subway

 Tomorrow I'll be eight months pregnant (yikes).  I'm finally so unmistakably pregnant that I get random comments, questions and congratulations on the street.  And more frequently I'm offered a seat on the subway.  The first time it happened I was six or seven months, my belly poking out of a tight dress.  I was on the 4/5 train on a communte that is frequented by wall streeters and investment bankers and lawyers.  I'd been visibly pregnant for many weeks and I was still commuting in heels but none of my suited colleagues had noticed.  On this particular day, though, a man did take notice.  He was hispanic, jeans too big, quite worn and cinched with a belt, a sweatshirt covered in construction dust.  The moment he saw me he immediately stood up, gave me his seat, and found another spot on the train.  I was embarrassed and touched.  It struck me how clear his values were.

Now I've been the subject of many other generous offers for subway seats.  Even though I feel awkward and even though I don't always feel that I need a seat, I struck a deal with myself.  Whenever someone offers me his or her seat, I smile, say thank you, and sit.  So that the person who has offered can feel good about their generosity and so that fellow commuters will take note that it is a kind and appropriate thing to do.  Maybe the next woman who is offered will be desperate.  If you see an elderly person or a pregnant woman who you'd like to offer your seat to, don't ask.  Stand up, point to your seat and say "please take my seat."  That way, the person you've offered it to will feel comfortable saying yes.

We can't all be as cute on our commute as Audrey, but we can still manage to do some good.