I faced this conundrum when I was renewing my license earlier this month. The DMV I visited, in downtown Manhattan, made you wait in two lines — one to get your paperwork ready and one to process it.
The first line only took about 20 minutes. (At the time I figured, "Great. I'm almost done." Then I got to the second line, which took an hour and a half.)
When I was almost done with the second line, I spied a very pregnant woman getting into the first line. No one acknowledged her or did anything to hasten her progress through the queue.
|Photo courtesy of Digital Journal.|
By that point, I'd spent almost two hours in line (or as a real New Yorker would say, "on line"). Even I — a fine specimen of a man — was pretty uncomfortable. I can't imagine how a woman in her eighth or ninth month of pregnancy would handle it.
Were I truly a gentleman, I would have given up my spot and switched places with the pregnant lady. But I was already late for work and couldn't imagine setting myself back another two hours or more (the line had stretched out since I arrived, so who knows how long it would have taken).
Finally, I got to the front of the queue. By that point, the pregnant lady had reached the second line. I wondered then if I should persuade everyone to let the woman cut to the front, or at least have someone hold her spot while she sat down.
But then I saw there was another, less noticeably pregnant woman in line ahead of the very pregnant woman. This took me back to a moment on BART when I asked if people could get up for a pregnant lady, only to be told by another woman that she was also pregnant (in my defense, she was a bit overweight and it was pretty hard to tell).
Anyway, back to my DMV experience. Around that time, my number was called by the clerk and I dealt with my business. When I was done, I just skulked out of there and figured I'd let someone else be the hero.
A cowardly act, I guess, but what would you do?