Sitting on a tram you witness a group of people representing the larger population: students, males, females, business people, people of different ethnicities, the elderly.
Twice in the last week I have witnessed people be antisocial towards the aforementioned group of elderly people.
Last week I was on the tram down Swanston St, and I was lucky to have a seat because the tram was PACKED, and then I see an old man boarding, trying to get his suitcase up the stairs while getting himself up as well, and he is clearly struggling. We are all waiting for him… and no one is helping. So after I realise the people standing RIGHT THERE aren’t going to activate their arm muscle for 3 seconds to lift the suitcase up, when their hand is no more than 60 cms away from it, I get up and push past these people to help. I then gave my seat to him.
Today I was sitting in the middle area of the tram. There are several people scattered around the seats. The tram driver has exited the vehicle to manually change the direction of the tracks ahead. I see an old woman trying to board the tram. She has her hand bag on the floor of the tram, and she is almost scrambling to get on. I’m sitting there trying to work out if she’s about to make it and it’ll be ok, or if I need to assist her. When I realise yes she needs help, I leave my stuff at my seat and run over to help. First I pick up her bag and then lend her my hand to grab onto. It’s a difficult situation, she’s about to fall backwards and I’ve just barely got a grip on her, and while this is happening, the tram driver WHO IS STANDING BEHIND HER AND COULD BE HELPING is saying “yep up you get girl, thaaat’s the way” like he was rounding up sheep.
And then he told her “the tram’s going this way” as if she didn’t get which direction the tram was going to move in. He was condescending and made an already embarrassed lady more embarrassed, she told me “I’m so sorry, I didn’t think this would ever happen to me (as in getting so old she can’t get up unassisted) and kept apologising.
I think we should change our behaviours towards the elderly to create a nicer society, and lend them a hand when they’re in need. I would prefer to live in a society where members are helpful and caring towards each other, especially when/if I reach an age where I am unable to be fully independent as an elder.
It always feels like a step out of your comfort zone to jump up and spontaneously help in a situation but people have never once been unappreciative of your efforts and you feel good knowing you’ve made a tiny part of someone’s day easier.