Public transport has unspoken rules. Give up your seat for the elderly and infirm. Share the space. Don’t take up multiple seats when it’s busy; move your stuff if someone asks to sit.
One woman came to Reddit to find out if she was in the wrong for refusing to move her bag when a man asked to sit.
What do you think?
Here’s What Happened
The Original Poster (OP) said she was riding a train in the early morning. It was pretty empty, as only a handful of other people were in the carriage.
She took a four-seater and spread out, making herself comfortable for the ride.
“I sat in a four-seater (two seats on one side, two across) and spread out my stuff, put my jacket on the seat across from me,” she shared.
Being Asked To Move
An older man entered the train at the next stop and beelined towards OP. “Move You Bag,” he demanded.
She was puzzled as the carriage was still nearly empty, and he had ample room to spread out in his own four-seater.
“I was puzzled since there was plenty of free seats to go around, so I asked if he really wanted this particular seat, and he said yes,” said the OP.
OP obliged. She packed up her stuff, moved her bag, and switched seats.
He Demands She Move a Second Time
Apparently, this wasn’t good enough for the man. As soon as OP got settled in her new seat, he reappeared, demanding that she move her bag so he could sit.
When asked why she should move her bag, he replied that he wanted to sit there. OP pushed back. She said she had already moved once for him.
That’s when she learned what he was really after.
“He scoffed and explained that it was not about the specific seat but about “entitled people who think their bags deserve a seat.”
OP said she had already moved for him once, so she wouldn’t do it again. At first, it looked like he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
“He made a movement as if he wanted to grab my bag, and I raised my voice, saying, “Don’t you f***ing dare!”. He started lamenting about entitled people again. I told him, “I moved for you. There are hundreds of free seats on this train, sit somewhere else.”
The man called OP names but ultimately went back to his own seat. He then called someone and proceeded to complain loudly about OP’s entitlement.
It Would Be Different on a Crowded Train
OP made it a point to explain that when a train is crowded, she gathers her stuff and sticks to one seat so others can sit.
“But I don’t see why I should let some rando boss me around and invade my personal space for no reason,” she added.
She came to Reddit to find out if she was really the jerk for not moving.
The Man Was the Problem
Most Reddit users agreed OP did nothing wrong.
“With plenty of room on the train, he had a ton of seats to choose from. He was technically correct – the best kind of correct™ – about being able to sit in any seat,” responded one user, adding, “but his insistence on enforcing his technical correctness on you makes him the a-hole.”
“Apart from that, the most important unwritten social rule of traveling in public transport is that you don’t sit close to a stranger if you don’t need to,” said another, pointing out that the man was wrong even the first time.
Misogyny Likely Played a Role
Many users pointed to the misogyny inherent in the interaction.
“This guy is a creeper and looking to cause trouble with you, a woman. Good for you not putting up with it,” said one user.
“He would NOT follow a man around like this,” replied another.
A third added, “Some men really hate women taking up space. Or just women in general.”
Some went even further, calling the man’s actions harassment.
“I don’t think it is socially acceptable in most places for strange men to demand they sit next to any woman they feel like just because they want to. He didn’t need to sit next to anyone at all. That’s widely considered harassment and weird behaviour,” stated one user.
“There’s a point where this becomes harassment. If the seat he wants to sit in involves following a girl around a train, I don’t think he’s technically correct at all,” added another. “ I think that’s technically harassment.”
What Do You Think?
Do you agree that the man was wrong and his behavior could be classified as harassment? Or do you think OP was wrong to spread out on the train in the first place?
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.