Woman Upset After Children Refuse To Give Up Their Seats To Elderly Friend On Bus — 'Should A Child Really Have A Seat Of Their Own?'

She received mixed responses, with some people agreeing with her and others believing that young children deserve to be seated.

Bus, children, elderly, passengers Zamrzhuti tonovi / Shutterstock / Mumsnet 

A woman has sparked a controversial discussion about who is entitled to seats on public transportation after a recent bus ride left her disappointed with some children and their parents. 

The woman was riding with a friend who she believed should have been offered a seat by someone in a younger generation. However, others do not agree with her declaration, arguing that children deserve seats for their own safety. 


The woman states that children should give up their seats for older people on public transportation. 

The woman expressed her opinions on the U.K.-based parenting forum, Mumsnet, revealing that she and an elderly friend recently boarded a “packed” bus. While the woman claimed that her friend, who is in her late 70s, is not “frail,” she does have trouble moving around and does not have the best balance. 

Since school is not currently in session due to summer vacation, the bus was crowded with school-aged children and teenagers, along with their families. “Many of the seats were occupied by children from toddlers to early teens,” the woman wrote.


The woman expected at least one of them to offer her friend their seat. However, none of them did. “Absolutely none of them offered her their seat and their parents neither told them to nor offered their own seats.” 

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The woman’s friend eventually asked a family consisting of three children, who appeared to be between the ages of four to 12, if they would mind giving up their seats to her, but they ignored her. 

After her friend was left feeling embarrassed, the woman asked a mother if would mind moving her toddler on her lap so that her friend could have the child’s seat. “She did it, but with bad grace,” the woman wrote. 


elderly woman sitting on a busPhoto: Svittlana / Shutterstock 

The experience left the woman questioning if younger generations were entitled to first-priority of seats on public transportation.

“Do most people now really think a child should have a seat of their own when there's someone who needs it more? If so, why?” she asks. 

“I realize there will be some children with disabilities/ conditions that mean they do need a seat of their own but most preschool children can sit on their parents' lap and most children over five can stand for a bus journey, can't they?” The woman received mixed responses to her question, with some people agreeing with her, and others claiming that her beliefs were unreasonable. 


Some people believed that children and teenagers should offer their seats to elderly passengers to demonstrate courtesy and respect. 

“Older children and young teens should’ve offered definitely,” one Mumsnet user commented. “Empathy levels have declined in the last 10 to 15 years since children put down books and picked up smartphones. So many people are entirely self-serving these days.” 

“You are right, children, teens, and able bodies adults should move. As kids we always have a way for adults of anyone needing seats, these days kids are taught to be selfish and entitled sadly by parents who have not a whisper of empathy,” another user expressed. 

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However, other people argued that children should not have to give up their seats and deserved them just as much as older generations. 

“I wouldn’t allow my children to stand if lots of other able-bodied adults could first,” one user shared. “I wouldn’t allow my child to stand at all as it’s not safe,” another user noted. 

“I would only expect someone who is safely able to stand to give up a seat. I need a stick to walk but I wouldn't expect a young child to offer me their seat any more than I'd expect a very elderly person to,” another user wrote. 

Other people pointed out that children and teenagers could have disabilities that are not visible to the rest of the world that require them to sit while using public transportation and should not be expected to give up their seats


For the sake of common courtesy and social awareness, those who are able-bodied and capable of standing should offer up their seat if they see an elderly person or anyone else who is struggling to stand up on public transportation. 

However, some people may simply just be oblivious to their surroundings and fail to notice a fellow passenger’s need for a seat that is far above their own. It never hurts to politely ask one if they would mind giving up a seat or making room. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.