In late February, Yvonne Lin, a product designer who is currently about eight months pregnant, was riding the New York subway when a man got up to give her his seat. What that man didn’t know, was that he was the first man to offer Lin a seat throughout her two pregnancies. He also had no idea she had been carrying a trophy in her bag during her last trimester, ready for this exact occasion.
During her first pregnancy, Lin carried around “some Papyrus card” with the word “Congratulations” on the inside to give to the first man who offered her a subway seat. She told The Huffington Post she never got to use it. During her second pregnancy, she upped her game and bought a customized trophy with the words “#1 DECENT DUDE, First Man to Offer Subway Seat to Pregnant Woman throughout Two Pregnancies” on it.
Lin told The Huffington Post that she bought a 7-inch trophy so it would be “big enough to make an impact, but small enough to fit in [her] work bag.”
Lin said that she dressed to “look as pregnant as possible” and that she commutes close to two hours on the subway every day from Washington Heights. She added that she gets seats from women while she’s pregnant “fairly often,” but never from men.
That changed when Ricky Barksdale offered his seat.
“He was staring at his phone,” Lin said. “He looked up and looked around and was like, ‘Holy crap, you’re pregnant! You need to have a seat.’”
Lin then gave him his trophy.
Barksdale, an army veteran and stuntman, said he chuckled when he first saw it. The dad of two thought it was a joke, but realized what Lin meant after he read what was on the trophy.
“It was a nice gesture of her, but it’s also sad for my male counterparts to allow something like this to happen,” he told HuffPost, adding, “If you clearly see a visible pregnant woman, you’re okay to stand up. She needs that more than you.”
Lin posted a photo of Barksdale and the trophy on her Instagram on Feb. 28. She didn’t get his name during their subway encounter, but as sites like DNA Info and Mashable began picking up the story, someone recognized Barksdale. The two are now in touch on Instagram.
Lin learned about his veteran and stuntman background and called him a “real life superhero.” Barksdale hopes the story will encourage others to offer their seats to people who need them.
“I just hope that this story motivates others to do the right thing,” he said. “Whether they’re pregnant, disabled, elderly, just do the right thing and be a decent human being.”
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