German System in Every Detail – 8 Jul 10


When we told yesterday’s train story to Thomas and Iris, they laughed, too, and said that it was a very typical German feature to want to have things proper, the way they should be, how you planned it and how it was organized. Sometimes there might be an easier way or it would be just unnecessary to go through all the planned steps but for a German mind it is clear to do it the way it was thought through before. And there is a plan and system for everything!

Thomas told me about a story which made me laugh, too. In a bus there is always a seat or two reserved for handicapped people so that they are surely able to sit down. There are cards, like identity cards, that certify that a person is handicapped and to what degree.

This special seat was occupied by an elderly lady. Another woman of approximately the same age entered the bus, which was otherwise full, and steered towards that seat. She said to the sitting woman: ‘This seat is for people who are physically impaired!’ The answer came promptly: ‘Well, I am.’ And she pulled out her card to show it. Seeing this, the lady who was still standing got a triumphant smile on her face, pulled out her own card and held it out nearly shouting: ‘Yes, but you see, my percentage of disability is higher than yours! I have the right to sit on this seat!’

We had to laugh about this comparison of how much impaired you are and the system behind it that it is only right and just if that person can sit. Well, of course it is, but it is also funny and I just hope that at least one other person then got up and offered their seat to the second lady so that they could both have a pleasant bus ride.

4 Replies to “German System in Every Detail – 8 Jul 10”

  1. Ha ha! how silly. it is strange that you can compare how disabled you are! what should happen is that somebody not disabled at all would give up their seat. Not this silly game.

  2. This is hilarious and so true amongst Germans as well as the Dutch and what’s even funnier is my Dutch little grandma has done this as well and I can picture her so vividly pulling out her card to say that she was of higher disability. You have to laugh and also shake your head at that, and then look at other countries that function fine without these intricate systems and I don’t know just wonder what would happen if the two switched places…what would happen indeed?