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Some passengers just need a friendly reminder to give up their seat

KATHERINE ALBUTT’S letter about being forced to stand for 25 minutes, on crutches, while taking the bus, made me squirm in shame (“Disabled, and invisible, on 39 bus,” Feb. 19). Last week, I was one of many such clueless people who sat on the Orange Line, blithely listening to my boyfriend chatting away, all the while staring into the protruding belly of a standing pregnant woman. 

Albutt suggested that perhaps she was invisible to the seemingly able-bodied people who sat in the four priority seats and the surrounding seats “without batting an eyelid.”

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She’s absolutely right. As for me, my head was in another place entirely. It was only after a very long time that it occurred to me what I was doing — or, rather, not doing — by keeping my seat instead of offering it up.  

It’s thoughtless. But it’s not necessarily malicious. I, and I would hope many people, would actually welcome a gentle reminder that someone needs our help.

We can be clueless, and we can have our head in the clouds, most certainly. But we can also be prodded into better behavior, particularly if our help is solicited in a non-accusatory tone. 

Please, don’t suffer in silence. Instead, give us the benefit of the doubt. Give us the chance to help. 

Lisa Vaas

Jamaica Plain

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