“I can’t sleep with this noisy kid crying!”

The Shinkansen bullet train is by far the easiest way to get around Japan, in terms of both comfort and speed. That convenience, though, means that all sorts of people rub elbows as Shinkansen passengers, from happy tourists on vacation to worn-out business travelers.

Japanese Twitter user @asita_harehare recently tweeted a story about two very different Shinkansen passengers, plus a quick-thinking, kindhearted train attendant who diffused a tense situation.

“While taking the Shinkansen, I suddenly heard a man angrily telling the attendant ‘I can’t sleep with this noisy kid crying! Do something about the assigned seats!’

Sitting next to the man was a mother holding a small child.

After a few moments, the attendant said ‘There’s an open seat in the Green Car [the Shinkansen’s first-class section], so please, take it and relax,’ and led the mother and child to the Green Car.”

We can say from experience that the Green Car is definitely a nice place to spend your bullet train journey, and would be even more so as a free upgrade from a standard-class ticket. @asita_harehare’s story quickly racked up over 200,000 likes, with commenters saying:

“Best train attendant ever?”
“The train car isn’t that jerk’s private sleeping space.”
“They keep saying we need to have more babies in Japan, but I feel like a lot of times people treat children coldly in public spaces.”
“Crying is a baby’s job. They can’t talk, so it’s their only way of communicating.”

Mixed in with the warm, fuzzy feelings, though, were replies from a few skeptics, some of whom said the story closely parallels an often-repeated account of a black man on an airplane being given a seat in business class when his economy-seat neighbor turned out to be an outspoken bigot. @asita_harehare’s tweet is decidedly light on specific details, and no follow-up to the original tweet has been posted either.

Whether or not the man, mother, baby, and attendant were real or products of @asita_harehare’s imagination, though, the reactions to the tweet hopefully are a sign that more people than not in Japan are willing to cut travelling families with young kids some slack.

Source: Twitter/@asita_harehare via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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