Yvonne Lin started carrying around a personalized trophy to award to the first man who gave her a seat on the subway — and it only took 17 months of pregnancy


Yvonne Lin spends about two hours on the subway to get to and from work each day, but through two pregnancies, a man had never offered her his seat. So Lin came up with a fun idea — she would give a trophy to the first man who volunteered to switch places.

“I learned pretty early on that the women were being super cool about it and giving me seats more often than not, but no guys were giving me a seat. That discrepancy was a bit shocking,” Lin, 38, tells PEOPLE. “So my first pregnancy, I started carrying around this little congratulations card because I wanted to like, make a big tada about the first guy who gave me a seat, but that never happened. So by the time the second one rolled around, I figured I needed to up it.”

The New York-based designer went on Amazon, and purchased a Hulk-like trophy, which she had engraved to say, “#1 Decent Dude: First Man to Offer Subway Seat to Pregnant Woman throughout Two Pregancies.”

“I’m sort of quirky and weird, and I have a child-like sense of humor,” she says. “So I realized that no one over the age of about 12 expects a trophy. I wanted something that was over-the-top ridiculous and had a man on it.”

Lin waited until her third trimester when she was showing to start carrying the trophy around in her work bag, “because up until then I think it’s totally legit not to notice,” she says. “It’s like, is she fat or is she lumpy?” And after a few weeks of carrying it around, she finally struck gold when Ricky Barksdale offered up his seat.

Yvonne Lin
Credit: Yvonne Lin

“I was super happy about it, because I was super happy that one, I didn’t have to carry this damn trophy around anymore, and two, I was just really happy to give it to someone and that someone gave me a seat,” Lin says, laughing.

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Lin says Barksdale was very surprised at first.

“He was sort of shocked, embarrassed and pleased, and I was just so happy. I think I gave off a lot of giddiness,” she says. “He actually got off at the next stop, and we were talking about how he always tries to give up his seat, and how he has two kids, and he tries to make sure other people give seats to pregnant women. He’s like, a legit, awesome dude.”

Lin didn’t get his name at first, but after her story started spreading, Barksdale reached out on Instagram, and they’ve been chatting ever since.

Unfortunately, though, Barksdale is still the only man to volunteer his seat.

“I haven’t gotten another seat from a guy, and I’ve gotten a couple seats from women. But, whatever. It’s not that I actually expect a seat. I’m just surprised that the discrepancy is so big between men and women.”