When a Card Says it Better


Self-disclosure is always a risk. Exposing a need exposes an opportunity for pain.

Exaggerated, that reality is brutally apparent on my hotel room TV in coverage of repression of the need for self-expression and liberty in Iran. Heroes walk the streets of Tehran - but we are surrounded by heroes of circumstance everywhere we go.

I am back home in Washington to care for a father with failing health and touching base with dear friends. The trip is full of the opportunities to experience - and too frequently to cause - other's pain even while the clear intent is care for the ones you love. I am especially appreciative of any aid to meet needs while minimizing pain.

The ENAT Newsletter today reports on an innovation by Southern Railways. On the surface it is a program to address "how-much-do-I-disclose" dilemma with a pass card and a new class of seating - Priority-  the railroad introduces. With this solution they allow the anonymity appropriate to being in public but invite the civility of compassionate attention to need.

Southern Railways hopes that by issuing a pass card to older persons, pregnant women, those with a disability and with less visible difficulties, fellow passengers will more readily give up priority seats to those who need them.

Priority seat logo with text

Priority seats can be used by anyone, but they should be given up if they're needed more by people with disabilities, expectant mothers, elderly passengers or those carrying infants. Someone's need for a seat may not be obvious, for example they may have a hidden disability or be in the early stages of pregnancy, it takes courage to ask someone to give up their seat so when asked, please allow someone to sit down.

Southern Railways explains: "Not everyone is comfortable with asking fellow passengers to give up a priority seat and explaining why this is necessary".



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