Coughing on the bus

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006
By Yokota Fritz


Photo by Kismet.

I don't know how many in my audience regularly ride public transportation, but envision this scenario: You have an annoying dry cough -- you're not really sick enough to stay home from work, your throat is just scratchy and dry. You're riding the bus, train, or trolley to work and you can't control your coughing spams. The passenger sitting next to you kindly offers a throat lozenge.

My question: Do you get offended?

I sat next to the coughing passenger on the bus this morning. Should I carry cough drops with me on the bus and offer them to my seat-mates if they're coughing? Would that be rude?

Please comment and let me know what you think. I might even do the cougher a favor by preventing his ejection from the bus.



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Comments:
Fritz- it's all in how you present them. "Would you like a cough drop?" is fairly inoffensive. On the other hand, "Here. Take this." is likely to get a cough drop shoved right back at you.

I had a supervisor who tried to intimidate me by getting right in my face. I looked him right in the eye and said, "Mint?" Somehow he took thought it was offensive. Imagine that.
 
Yeah, be the nice guy. I carry mints a lot, a salesman thing, and frequently offer them to others- usually while popping one myself. Maybe you can't do the same thing with the cough drop, but as Ed mentions, offering with a smile and a dash of concern should be totally cool.
 
Hall's has an ad campaign right now with that situation on a plane, and a flight attendant saving the day with a well-placed Hall's.

Last movie I attended, one of the four people in the theater was coughing a lot at the beginning, but then it stopped. My companion informed me that he'd heard his companion say "Just suck on it!" and assumed there was a cough drop involved... but that might not be the line you want to use :)
 
I don't think it's offensive at all. In fact, I would probably appreciate it (though as I think about it, I'm remembering all those lessons my parents taught me about taking "candy" from strangers). What I really wish when I'm having a coughing attack on the bus is that someone would offer me a bottle of water. Perhaps that's another item to keep handy in a Bus Chick bag...

Fritz, sorry for the late reply. As you requested, I'll write about this soon.
 
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