One time, I took my little cousin out for a stroll at a nearby mall. On our way back home, we rode a jeepney. There were only, I guess, about 4-5 other people on the jeep so it wasn’t too crowded and my cousin sat beside me. I gave the jeepney conductor a 20-peso bill to pay for our fare. He gave me back 13 pesos. I was confused for a moment and automatically returned 6 pesos (minimum SP fare at the time) and said “Para duha na, kuya…” He gave me this funny look and went back to minding his own business (or that of other passengers, I guess.)
Later on, I realized that I was “violating” (for lack of a better word) an unwritten jeepney rule: kids don’t count as passengers unless the parent/guardian explicitly says they want to pay for the kid.
Usually, they have to assert this only when the jeep is full, the kid is taking up valuable space that might fit another passenger, and the adult doesn’t want him/her sitting on their lap or standing up.
The reason for this, I suppose is that of economy: The little thing isn’t taking that much space anyway and could get out of the way in an instant – why should I pay for it?
And while that is understandable, I kind-of feel that it has mentally reduced the child to that of a thing – a non-person like the bag you’re carrying that you don’t have to pay to transport.
(Interestingly enough, I have been charged the same fare as an adult passenger for an LPG tank I took from Midsayap to Aleosan while, on the same jeep, the girl sitting on her mother’s lap got a free ride.)
But then again, this demotion only lasts for the entire duration of the jeep ride.
After that, the kid becomes a human being again.
No harm done, right?
I hope not, at least.