What does an elderly person do if a youth fails to get up and offer a seat on a public bus or train? Well, mostly they shrug and resign themselves to their fate, wondering about the falling social values of the present generation. But sometimes, it can fuel bitter quarrels, with none too pleasant results.
A senior citizen in China’s Zhengzhou city, in fact, paid for it with his life after getting into a row when a young man refused to offer a seat on a bus recently.
The old man slapped the youth, said to be a 20-year-old university student, repeatedly after arguing with the youngster, and then collapsed in the bus due to an apparent heart attack. By the time the paramedics arrived, it was too late.
Senior citizens, of course, have every right to take umbrage at being denied seats on public transport, given the general guidelines provided to passengers by public transport operators.
But would you be surprised if you knew that not all senior citizens think they should have the priority to seats?
According to mainland media, a few Zhengzhou elderly aged over 80 held up slogans at several bus stations last Friday to call for the reverse of the usual rule. Instead of calling on the youth to give up seats for the elderly, the senior citizens urged seniors to give seats to the young, reports said.
Liang Yongxiang, 81, said that as seniors, they “should give more love to the next-next generation”. He went on to explain that life is not easy for the younger generation nowadays. “Young people are tired because of work, and they have to get up early in the morning and work till late.”
Liang has gathered five more silver-haired buddies to support his move. He said seniors should be more considerate. “As most of the elderly are retired, we have an easy life comparatively. If our physical conditions allow and we are not in a hurry, we should give seats to them from time to time.”
Some healthy elderly take buses even for very short distances, like for going to the market round the corner, Liang pointed out. “Some also jump onto air-conditioned buses just because the weather is hot,” he said, adding that he thinks such practices are not good.
“I suggest that we should avoid riding buses during the peak hour, in order to leave more room for the younger populations who have more need to use the public transport.”
Liang’s idea sounds weird but his comments are said to have moved many younger people, who have now promised to give up their seats to the elderly to thank them for being so thoughtful.
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