‘I feel like a justified cow bag’: Woman recently recovering from surgery refuses to give up seat on train to 3 children

Gillian Sisley

A recent shoulder surgery patient found herself in an awkward situation on a packed train recently, but chose to stand her ground despite a mother’s relentless protestations. She’s written a Mumsnet post about the incident to find out whether or not she was in the wrong for how she reacted.

*This is a work of non-fiction sourced from social media discussion boards and verified experts/specialists.*

The author, who was on her way back to work after visiting her father, was seated at a table, her backpack on the table and a large bag stored safely away in the overhead rack, courtesy of a “lovely man” who helped her out.

At the next station, the train became “absolutely heaving” and a mother with three children stepped on board. As the children found seats, the mother approached the author and said:

“I’ve got three children who need a seat, please can they have yours?”

The author refused, explaining that, due to a recent surgery, standing on a packed train would be too painful. She details the interaction:

“I’ve recently had shoulder surgery but I am now out of a sling so I guess I don’t look injured. Standing on a packed train would be too painful. [So I told her]: ‘I’m not particularly bothered by the amount of kids you have but I will be staying in this seat as I need it too’.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, mobility can be severely impaired in the aftermath of surgery; after shoulder surgery, for example, individuals may find it difficult to lift their arms, move them in certain directions, and use them to brace themselves on a moving vehicle. Additionally, postoperative pain can further reduce mobility and the ability to perform daily activities, as detailed by Mackinaw Surgery Center.

That said, the mother was not deterred, however, and the author found herself in an uncomfortable position. Thankfully, the “lovely man” who had stored her bag away stepped in. The author concludes with:

“At first, I was a bit taken aback by the mother's approach. It was a difficult situation to be in, but I felt justified in not giving up my seat. I feel like a cow bag but a justified one!”

What do you think?

Was the author absolutely justified to refuse to get up and move from her seat due to her mobility, even though a mother with 3 children was requesting her to do so?

Or was the author being selfish to not offer her seat up to the poor children, and give the mom of 3 a break?

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