Teenager's Reason for Refusing To Give Elderly Woman His Bus Seat Cheered

A mother has been praised for allowing her teen son to stay seated on a bus despite an elderly woman requesting he move.

In a now-viral post u/throwawya293_ explained her son, 17, suffers from mental health issues and often forgets to eat. In this instance, he hadn't eaten for almost 24 hours and began to feel faint as they got onto the bus.

"The bus wasn't too crowded but all the seats were taken," she said. "My son wasn't doing well and I could tell he was feeling dizzy from hunger [and] the bus. So the second someone got off their seat, I sat him down. I then tried to find a chocolate bar in my bag."

Mother and son on bus
Main image, a stock image of a mother and son on a bus and, inset, an elderly woman getting on a bus. A mother has been backed online and by a parenting expert for refusing to let her 17-year-old son give up his seat on a bus to an old woman. Sergey Dolgikh / monkeybusinessimages/iStock / Getty Images Plus

During this time, a woman tapped the mother's shoulder to ask if the teen would give up his seat for her elderly mom.

As a rule of thumb, transport companies ask customers to give up their seats to people with disabilities and senior citizens when necessary.

But the mom said no as the teen wasn't feeling great "and standing would make it harder."

She wrote: "I had found the chocolate and he was eating it slowly but if he stood up right then, I can assure you he would've fainted. I apologized to her and explained that my son wasn't feeling well.

"She rolled her eyes at me and said that she saw him standing earlier and that he's a young healthy teenage boy—he'll be fine. I apologized once again and told her that he wasn't feeling well and that if he was then HE himself would've offered her a seat.

"The daughter told me to look at her mother and I admit, the poor woman looked really tired. But I couldn't. My son had started to lean against me so I told the woman one last time that I was sorry and to ask someone else."

On February 5, the mom turned to the internet to find out if she was in the wrong as a stranger approached her when they got off the bus and said the teen should have given up his seat. She also states the mother and daughter duo called her an "entitled b****."

'The Issue Is That the Son's Problem Is Only Visible to Her'

Newsweek reached out to Lesley McGregor, a parenting expert for StellKey, an app that aims to "help families work together."

She said: "The mother feels conflicted as she needs to help her son and advocate for him. At the same time, she wants to adhere to social norms and conventions—to get younger people to help older ones. The issue is that the son's problem is only visible to her and the rest of the bus assumes he's fit and healthy.

"The mother did well to explain the situation calmly. If her son had given up the seat, he may have fainted, and someone would have had to give up a seat.

"However, some people on the bus assumed that she was lying. This is also natural as people are on the lookout for members of society that don't adhere to social conventions and call them out. Having assessed the situation and told the truth, there's nothing else she could have done—getting her son to give up the seat would simply have shown the others that she was telling the truth when he faints. She did the right thing and should not feel bad, even though people didn't believe her."

In total, the Reddit post has 7,500 upvotes and the top comment has 12,400 upvotes.

It said: "You handled it the same way I would have, politely explaining that your son wasn't feeling well and needed to sit. I'm sure there were many other people they could have asked, and many other people that could have offered, so I'm not sure why they felt the need to pick on you and your son."

Another said: "It totally makes sense that they asked, but they should have accepted your answer. Your son legitImately needed the seat, despite being young. This is a frustrating scenario that people with invisible disabilities often face."

Speaking from experience, one user said: "The looks I get at 37 for using a handicapped parking spot [because] I look healthy, meanwhile every step is pure and utter agony... We've really gotta stop policing disabilities."

Newsweek has reached out to u/throwawya293_ for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

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