Since February 2019, a rather disturbing image depicting a hunched and frail elderly lady standing on a Sydney train has been circulating on social media, causing consternation as it travels.
Why is it disturbing? Because the photograph shows that several much younger people are comfortably seated while the elderly lady stands and clings to a pole for support.
The sitting people have been widely condemned for their perceived rudeness and lack of respect. They have been castigated for not offering the woman a seat when she clearly needed it.
But, as is often the case, things are likely not as they appear at first glance.
A person claiming to be the elderly woman’s grandson told radio station 2GB’s Ben Fordham that she was standing because she was preparing to disembark at the next station.
You can listen to the segment here:
Reportedly, people had offered seats to the lady but she declined because she was about to get off the train.
Of course, we still don’t know the exact circumstances in which the photograph was taken. Certainly, people are sometimes rude on public transport and there are no doubt plenty of times when a seat is not offered when it should have been.
But, it’s unfair and unhelpful to judge the behaviour and motives of others based on just one photograph. Especially when the photograph includes recognisable faces of people who may be condemned when they have actually done nothing wrong at all.
The Circulating Image: