NYC-based product designer and impromptu award presenter, Yvonne Lin, is currently eight months into her second pregnancy and has a two-hour commute to
work each day. However, she has never been offered a seat on an NYC subway by a man.
During Lin’s third trimester of her first pregnancy, she recognized the problem of men never giving up their seat to her despite her undeniable baby bump. Lin told People Magazine, “I learned pretty early on that the women were being super cool about it and giving me seats more often than not, but no guys were giving me a seat.”
It motivated Lin to find a way to show her appreciation for the first man who actually did volunteer his seat to her, as she told CBS News, “I even started carrying around a card with me to hand to the man who would be the first to offer his seat.” Lin never had the chance to give the card to anyone, so she “was kind of disappointed by the fact that [she] never got to give it away.”
For Lin’s second pregnancy, she decided to raise the stakes. She decided to purchase a seven-inch bronze statue of a Hulk-like figure standing on a plaque with a custom engraving, which reads “#1 DECENT DUDE: First Man to Offer Subway Seat to Pregnant Women Throughout Two Pregnancies.” Explaining what she calls the “Decent Dude” award, Lin said, “There was such a long build up to this point, I knew I needed something bigger.”
Lin justified her trophy choice. “I have a childlike sense of humor. So I realized that no one over the age of about 12 expects a trophy. I wanted something that was over-the-top ridiculous and had a man on it.”
After two months of carrying the award in her bag with the hopes of surprising a kind stranger, she finally had an opportunity to do so. On her two-hour subway commute from work on an uptown A train, Lin stood next to a seated passenger who was wearing headphones and playing a game on his phone. “I was standing for three stops before he noticed,” Lin told NBC News.
After seeing Lin, the man hopped up and apologized for not giving her his seat earlier. Before Lin sat down, she presented the stranger with the award. In that moment, Lin remembers he was “adorably sweet and embarrassed.”
Later, Lin discovered that the stranger was an Army veteran, stuntman, and father of two named Ricky Barksdale. “It was a cool gesture,” said Barksdale about the trophy. “Things like that don’t happen in New York City. I felt like I was just doing a decent thing as a human being.”
Although Barksdale thought nothing of his good deed, Lin was thrilled to know there are men willing to give up their seats to the people who need them most. She shared the story on Instagram in hopes that others will follow their lead by taking the time to be kind and giving thanks for kindness when it is encountered.
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