In a now-viral thread, a pregnant mother in England took to Twitter to criticize an elderly couple for refusing to move from the train seats she had reserved for her children.
Amanda Mancino-Williams described how she had booked four seats on a CrossCountry train from Cheltenham to Nottingham but found an elderly couple sitting in two of them. When she asked them to move, they reportedly dismissed her.
"If a mum with 3 kids and bags has 4 reserved seats for a long train journey, and you're sitting in their seats on a full carriage, don't tell them that their tickets don't matter in a posh voice and then say you're not moving and refuse to make eye contact," Mancino-Williams tweeted. "Don't be these people."
Along with the initial tweet, the mother attached a photo of the couple, who look away from the camera. Mancino-Williams also included a photo of her three children sitting across from the couple in a follow-up tweet. All three appear expressionless as they attempt to share two seats.
Fortunately, another passenger offered his seat to the family before the train conductor intervened to move Mancino-Williams and her children to an empty table in first class.
"A kind man offered me his seat," the mother tweeted. "Spoke to conductor who was calm, lovely, and apologetic, said that instead of engaging with them that he was going to move us to an empty table in first class. I grabbed our bags and turned to the couple and said, with a smile, 'enjoy your seats!'"
As the incident played out, Mancino-Williams, whose tweets have been shared more than 8,000 times, said that the elderly woman was overheard telling her husband that it was acceptable to take her children's seats.
"My kids just told me that while they were sitting across from the couple the woman said to her husband, loud enough so the kids would hear, that 'even when we take first class people don't give up their seats, you take what's there,'" she tweeted. "In case you felt sorry for them."
In sharing her story, the mother said she has since received pushback for publicizing an "everyday occurrence." In response, Mancino-Williams said she was only using her experience as a teachable moment.
"This situation is not about my children not having manners enough to stand for the elderly," she wrote. "This is about a culture of bullying and entitlement."
"My kids and I were being fair and following rules and these two were not," she continued. "They immediately switched into bully mode as they saw us approach, clearly aware that those seats were ours."
Mancino-Williams concluded her thread by revealing that she was six-and-a-half months pregnant — a fact she claimed the couple knew but purposely ignored.
In an interview with the Sun, the mother, who also freelances as a writer, doubled down on her condemnation of the elderly woman.
"Her instant dismissiveness of me and the children told me all I needed to know about her," Mancino-Williams said. "I didn't feel it was my responsibility to acquiesce to that kind of behavior."
A spokesman for CrossCountry also acknowledged the episode in a statement to the publication.
"It's a shame when a family has reserved seats to travel together, to be let down by others who ignore the labels in the back of their chairs," the spokesperson said. "However, we'll be thanking our conductor for quickly resolving the situation and hope they all enjoyed the extra space in first class."
The couple at the center of the controversy has yet to be identified, but another Twitter user has reportedly accused them of being similarly rude while boarding a train.
"Whilst waiting at the platform at Cheltenham they pushed the way to the front when the train pulled in and when the doors of the train opened they barged on not letting the passengers who were on the train come off," the user purportedly wrote in a message to Mancino-Williams. "I remember saying to my son very loudly, 'you always wait for people to come off the train before you get on."