Would you be happy to give up your seat, no questions asked?

Sat on the train the other day, I noticed a woman who was chubby. She may have been pregnant, or just a touch overweight, I couldn’t be sure. She was far enough away from me that asking her if she’d like my seat would have caused a bit of a fuss – and if she wasn’t pregnant, the possibility of a humiliation I would hate to put on anyone.

It got me thinking. The little “Baby on Board” badges are cute, and when they work I’m sure are great – but the problem with waiting to be offered a seat is it requires those in them to be aware of their fellow passengers. With all the best intentions in the world, come commute o’clock, most of us just zone out with some reading, music, or staring out the window. We don’t see who’s around us, and huge bumps, walking sticks, gammy legs or people with small babies are easily over looked. As in my case the other day, you may not know who needs your seat but be entirely willing to give it up should anyone else need it.

So, I want to create an idea. Those of us who are happy to give up our seats, no questions asked, wear badges whilst travelling instead (coat, bag, hat, doesn’t matter where!) – we put the emphasis on giving, not asking. So when someone who needs a seat gets on transport they can have a scan for the logo and ask without recourse for your seat.

And I do mean no questions asked. It may be a man or a woman who asks you – they may have a bad back, a stinking hangover, or an anxiety problem that means sitting down helps. They may just genuinely be overweight and find it hard to stand. They may have just actually had a really shitty day and standing home for an hour is just the last thing they needed today. They don’t just have to be heavily pregnant or 100+.

I’d like some help. I need some design expertise to create a striking logo for the badge, and I’d like recommendations for a badge company I can buy a boat load off.

Team Prime will foot the cost of a few hundred of these to get the vibe going in London, but if people want to take the design and print their own that’s awesome too. I want to sell the idea, not the badges. If it does work out and takes off, I’ll work out a way to fund as many as required.

[edit for new traffic 20th Feb 2013] lots of traffic coming through on this today – so wanted to update and let you all know I found a designer, who is hoping to have the badge ready for March 🙂 so chuffed. Amazingly, it looks pretty similar to one suggested in comments below, so that’s great knowing 2 people have come up with the same idea separately  that shows it will be easily identifiable. 

We hope to have the badge up on my company site (http://www.team-prime.com) or a standalone if the designer manages to get that together in time – he’s donating his time, so I’m at his (very kind) mercy.

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About Thayer Prime

Tall. Eats a lot. Talks too much. I tweet over @thayer
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9 Responses to Would you be happy to give up your seat, no questions asked?

  1. John-Paul (see emails passim) is a great designer of logos. I look forward to getting me badge :-).

  2. Louise says:

    Count me in! I would be more than happy to give up my seat to anyone if they just asked, but as you say my head is usually in my phone or a book and I just don’t notice. As someone who has been wrongly offered a seat when someone assumed I was pregnant (I haven’t worn that dress since) I never assume unless they are absolutely enormous or wearing one of the badges.

  3. alex says:

    I definitely agree with this in principle and am really glad as well about the last bit you wrote. I have an anxiety condition that means I have to sit down on public transport otherwise I will be sick or collapse. I literally cannot stand on a train. However, I look young and healthy (and male) so people do not give up their seats for me. I am also too shy and embarrassed to ask. Its a horrible situation

  4. J McK says:

    As it’s partly a disability thing the logo ought to be in white on a dark blue background. This combination is most easily seen by people with visual impairments. Other than that, something simple and straightforward like a chair in profile. I’ll draw up a rough thing in paint…

  5. Great idea ! it is indeed often too much of a judgement call and can be a bit awkward 🙂 Looking forward to see what the logo/message would look like !

  6. Lucas says:

    I think this is a fantastic idea. More often than not I have offered someone my seat and they have refused to take it. It can be humiliating for that person or it can be very offensive; I would like to avoid that from happening as a result of being courteous.

  7. Sarah says:

    Count me in! I would love to do this. I usually give up my seat, but don’t want to offend. I have also met some lovely people on the tube by offering my seat- it is a dangerous balance…. Could I have a badge please?

  8. Pingback: #seatgifting – an update and a request for your thoughts, please | Thayer Prime's Blog

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