What's it going to take before a "decent dude" gives up a subway seat for a pregnant woman? Apparently, a trophy. Even then, the chances are iffy.
Yvonne Lin, a designer and 38-year-old mom in New York, decided to do a social experiment a little more than two years ago when she was pregnant with her first child.
The mom told PIX11 that during her third trimester she decided to take notice of the people who offered her their seat on the subway in her almost hour-long commute (each way). She would make herself look as pregnant as possible and wear outfits that accentuated her baby bump. A few weeks into the experiment, she realized everyone but men offered her their seats.
Then Lin decided to carry around a "Congrats" card to give to the first man willing to give up his seat, but no one did.
So this time, pregnant with her second baby, she upped the reward. The mom commissioned a small trophy of a man ripping his shirt with a plaque that read "#1 Decent Dude" and "First man to offer subway seat to pregnant woman through two pregnancies."
Lin lugged that trophy in her laptop bag for months until finally, FINALLY, two weeks ago at 8 months pregnant, Lin was offered a seat by a "decent dude" in a two-hour commute home during rush hour.
The fellow subway rider was Ricky Barksdale. A friend of Barksdale's recognized him in Lin's Instagram post and praised him as "the most sincere and gentle giant ever. When I was down and out and lost ... he offered to feed me and always asked if I was OK." Barskdale had been in the military for eight years and currently works as a stuntman and actor.
Lin told NBC New York he was "adorably sweet and embarrassed" when she awarded him the trophy. The mom believes rewarding behavior is better than publicly shaming (which she's tried before).
"What an amazing story," commented a fellow mom on Instagram. "I remember when I was pregnant no one would give me a seat. I remember I passed out on the train from feeling dizzy when I was 8 months pregnant. I came across a lot of rude people. Mostly teenagers gave me a seat."
Pretty sure Barksdale is never rude.
Stories about women a million months pregnant who have to stand, imperfectly balanced, on a moving subway car, train or bus, are common. Unfortunately, people forget that pregnancy is hard physical work. In 2015, Mhairi-Claire Doolan's story went viral after a male passenger stole her seat and openly laughed at her when she asked for it back. The mom, who was 34 weeks pregnant then, was forced to stand on the train for 30 minutes.
"When it comes right down to it, giving up your seat for a pregnant woman is more than about the simple physical act of standing or sitting," writes Mom.me contributor Chaunie Brusie. "It's about a nod of respect to motherhood."
Know who agrees with that? Barksdale (because, of course he does).
Like, he reaaaaally gets it. When a Facebook friend called him a gentelment, here's what he said. "Thanks brother, I wasn't expecting that from her, it's one of those things where it's cool, sad and funny at the same time."
But don't worry, he likes dads, too.