I May Be Young, but I Deserve My Priority Seat on the Tram

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Why do so many older people assume they’re more entitled than young people?

A couple aged 65-70 years old get on the tram. There’s loads of seats but of course they make their way towards me, sat in a priority seat by the door, to ask me to give up my seat.

“Would you move so my husband can have that seat?” the woman says rudely. Shocked, looking up from my phone where I was replying to an email, my heart stops and I open my mouth to say that I’m a priority too. I have thyroid conditions and adrenal dysfunction which means that when I had to walk fifteen minutes to the tram stop this morning because there were no cabs available, I collapsed onto the first seat by the door. When the tram pulled in and the doors opened, I prayed for an empty seat. In the morning I often feel nauseous, faint and anxious but I have to go to work.

But before I can explain that, her husband quickly points out two other priority seats opposite me and so they sit there instead.

However, she can’t sit down without saying to me, “You’re sat in a priority seat you know. We’re priority,” pointing at herself.

This gets me riled. I attempt to explain what I wanted to the first time around, again, but the words won’t come out. I freeze. My heart stops for what feels like 10 seconds and I feel like I’m going to pass out from the sudden shock of anxiety, kickstarting my heart. A sudden wave of tears fill up behind my eyes but I’m determined that I won’t cry. I feel attacked.

But I can’t get the words out. I’ve frozen into a rectangular shape, shoulders up to my ears, feet glued to the spot and taking very shallow breaths.

I hope I have the guts to say something next time. People just shouldn’t make assumptions. Invisible health conditions exist too. It’s discriminatory towards age anyway; ill health doesn’t care if you’re young or old.

I decided to make a pin to say I’m entitled to a priority seat for future use. I thought I’d make them for all of us who have to put up with these kinds of assumptions.

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Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism

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