by Noah Tan on

Dear Nurull,

I, like many others, was intrigued by your recent Facebook post about appropriate lift etiquette. You probably didn’t expect the post to go viral, and I’m sure that you didn’t intend for it to spark this much controversy and debate.

Judging by the responses to your post, it appears that most netizens disagree with your point of view that parents with prams and kids, as well as people with trolleys or in wheelchairs, shouldn’t be given priority access to use the elevator.

Your explanation in a follow-up post, about how you believe in a “first come, first served” approach instead, was also widely derided by netizens.

First things first, I do hope you’re coping well with the barrage of criticism coming your way. Netizens are not known for being gentle with their words, and many of the comments you’ve received in relation to your post were unnecessarily vehement, personal and even abusive.

Perhaps they were triggered by the way you’ve phrased your opinions, which could come across as judgmental. It would have helped if you’d put your point across in a less antagonistic manner.

Because I actually thought that there was merit to some of the points you brought up. There is no hard and fast rule to say that those with prams, trolleys, or who are in wheelchairs, should automatically be given priority to take the elevator.

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Image Source: Facebook / Sue Strange

And to your credit, you did also qualify that this “first come, first served” approach did not apply at certain places such as MRT stations or hospitals, or in the case of an emergency.

Therefore, I do think there is some validity to your point that there really is no need to let people with prams, trolleys or wheelchairs enter elevators first, unless in exceptional circumstances.

Just like everyone else, these people can always wait for the next elevator to come. It’s not as if they’re being prevented from reaching their destination. They will still be able to get to where they want to go, albeit slightly later.

Nonetheless, while we are in no way obliged to give way to these people, it would still be nice if we did, don’t you think?

It’s a simple act of kindness, but it sure could go a long way towards helping to make their day a little better. After all, what would that act of graciousness cost us? Just a few minutes of our time, at most.

And that’s the beauty of kindness – it comes from the heart, not a rulebook.

When we choose to let these people enter the lift first – at our expense – we shouldn’t do it because we have to. We should do it because we want to spread a little cheer and goodness to others.

Every kind gesture, every good deed, no matter how small, contributes in making our society that much better.

And as a community, we can be greater by giving up our seats on the MRT to a pregnant lady. We can be greater by helping an elderly cross the road. And we can be greater by letting those with prams or trolleys, or those in wheelchairs, take the elevator ahead of us.

So, Nurull, while I can respect what you said, I do hope that this letter will inspire you and others to choose kindness when the opportunity arises in future.

Because that’s how we elevate ourselves to greatness.