In an effort to save gas, having to pay for parking, and the environment, I've been taking the bus to work lately. Today after work I caught the city bus, which runs approximately the same route as the MTA but costs less than half as much to ride and is consequently always crowded. When I got on I had to stand, which didn't bother me because it's only about a fifteen-minute ride to my stop. A couple of stops after I got on, someone sitting in a seat near me got up and left. A teenage boy moved to take the seat, then glanced at me and mumbled, "Do you want to sit down?"
"No, thanks," I said. "You can have it."
An elderly woman sitting next to this kid starting yelling, giving him hell for not offering me the seat. The poor kid looked scared to death so I jumped in. "He did offer it to me and I told him to take it. It's OK, really." She shut up but looked angry.
A stop or two later, another teenage boy on the other side of the aisle offered me his seat. I thought he was getting off so I accepted. Turns out, he was just being polite and he stood in the aisle. I felt a little guilty, as I'm neither disabled nor elderly, but I didn't want to make a fuss so I stayed in my new seat.
The old lady across the aisle started talking to this second boy, and I saw her press a dollar bill into his hand. I thought she wanted him to help her off the bus with all her bags. But no: she got off the bus by herself a few stops later, and as she did she yelled at the bus driver, "I gave that boy back there a dollar. His mama and daddy raised him right. He got up and gave his seat to a senior citizen."