Yvonne Lin went through nearly two entire pregnancies before a man offered her his seat on the subway.
Lin, a 38-year-old designer, said she had gotten plenty of seats from women, most of whom were Latino and black women. She wanted to change the situation.
"I was getting no seats from men,” she said, "if I finally get a seat from a guy then I have to celebrate this some way and make sure he knows he’s appreciated."
Lin purchased what she called a “silly little card” and carried it around throughout the third trimester of her first pregnancy, but no gentleman ever earned the accolade.
When she got pregnant again last year, Lin said she decided to continue her “social experiment,"but raised the stakes: she carried around a 7-inch trophy inside her work backpack.
The bronze statuette — which appears to depict the "Incredible Hulk" tearing his shirt — atop a plaque that reads "#1 DECENT DUDE. First man to offer subway seat to pregnant woman throughout Two Pregnancies."
"I thought, 'You know what, it's worth it to carry it,'" Lin said, adding that she dressed to show that she was "obviously pregnant" to ensure her experiment had the best chance of succeeding.
Lin, who usually takes the A train during the morning and afternoon rush hours, found her winner last month on a ride home, she said. On Feb. 24, she stood in front of a seated man who was playing on his smartphone before he glanced up and noticed Lin standing directly in front of him.
I'm about 8ish months preggers (again) and I look it. I've been gradually coming to the conclusion that men suck. I didn't get a single subway seat offered to me by a man throughout my first pregnancy. So for the second pregnancy, I had this made and I've been carrying it around everyday - till last Friday. This guy is the winner! #subway #nyc #pregnant #socialexperiment
"He looked up at me and looked super startled and embarrassed," Lin recalled, "and he immediately stood up and said, 'Please take this seat, I just noticed.'"
The Washington Heights mom said she never learned the well-bred young man's name; they did, however, speak briefly, she snapped his photo with her statuette and the gentleman revealed he was a father of two.
Lin said she hopes experiments like hers raise the bar for how New Yorkers treat one another, pregnant or not.
“If men just gave up their seats the same amount of time or similar [as women], then it would be no problem,” Lin said.
The MTA's "Courtesy Counts" advertising campaign already encourages straphangers to offer their seats to elderly, disabled and pregnant passengers.
Dr. Victor Klein, vice chairman of quality and patient safety for Northwell Health’s OB-GYN services, said, ”From a scientific point of view, it’s not going to make a difference whether a woman stands on a subway for ten minutes, 20 minutes or not."
However a woman, on average, gains between 25 and 35 pounds during pregnancy, Klein noted. With that extra weight, he said, "I don’t think you want to be standing for a long period of time.”
Experts say that pregnancy may also exaggerate back issues, such as sciatica, which causes pain in the lower back, hips, buttocks and legs.
The bottom line, in Klein's opinion: ”I think we should all give pregnant women seats.”