At 23 weeks pregnant and quite obviously showing, I’ve been experiencing a new phenomenon – people (mostly men) giving up their seats for me on crowded buses.

My first reaction is gratitude, but I must admit that I also feel a bit guilty about the whole thing. But I shouldn’t! At least, this is the conclusion I came to one day last week, as I sat and pondered the whole matter in my pregnancy-procured bus seat.

Why, you ask? Well there are the obvious reasons – being pregnant means I’m more easily tired, sick or vulnerable in a public transport situation. But also, because there’s something deeper and more beautiful about someone giving up their seat for a pregnant woman.

In a subconscious way, they are respecting life. Even in such a “culture of death” society, where abortion and assisted suicide are more accepted than ever, there is still this kind of “royal treatment” for a person who is carrying new life. It appears that there is perhaps something intrinsic in all of us which gives us some awe of new life, as well as a desire to protect it.

Also, I’m a stranger to the people who give up their seat to me – so in some small way, I feel like they’re subconsciously showing respect for the women in their lives. Because they’d like to see their wives, mothers, sisters, daughters and friends to be treated in the same way.

It’s a glimmer of hope in a world that sometimes seems unkind. We all have both good and bad in us, but this tiny action reiterates the good. For all I know, the man giving me his seat has done some horrible things in his lifetime – but right now, all I’m privy to is the good!

It makes me think: what would the world be like without Christian culture? Whether you are religious or not, Jesus’ “love one another” teachings were revolutionary and really became the backbone of western civilisation. Roman times were a dog-eat-dog world where no one fluttered an eyelash while fellow humans were being fed to lions. Even now in some wild tribes (and some not-so-wild tribes aka any modern city), women are commodified for labour and sexual pleasure. Without Christian values, why should anyone feel that I deserve their seat on the bus?

Perhaps I’m over-reading and overthinking this whole thing. But maybe I’m not, which makes this tiny gesture so much bigger than it seems after all!

Tamara El-Rahi is an associate editor of MercatorNet. A Journalism graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, she lives in Australia with her husband and two daughters.