China Elevator Stories

“That young guy doesn’t have any manners”

I take a bus in Shenzhen together with my mother-in-law.


Ruth Silbermayr-Song


One day in March 2014, my mother-in-law accompanies me to do a prenatal check-up at a hospital in Shenzhen.

I’m 6 months pregnant and have a visible bump. We get on a small bus and I get to stand in front of the seats reserved for the elderly, disabled, sick, pregnant and those carrying kids. 

The small bus has three of these orange seats and all are taken. Two guys in their 30s sit on the seats right next to where I’m standing and look my bump up and down. They don’t offer their seats. 

At one of the next stops, an elderly woman gets on the bus. Almost immediately, one of the guys gets up to offer her his seat. My MIL and I both register what happens, but I don’t say anything about it to her.

On the day after this occurrence, my MIL and I have lunch together. We eat silently, when she suddenly bursts out: “That young guy yesterday, he really doesn’t have any manners. He looked young and healthy, he really could have offered you his seat.”

Have you ever had to deal with a situation like this?

Note: This was an exception. After my bump showed, I almost always got offered a seat in Shenzhen. Oftentimes, people would get up so I could sit down.