Here's a good one for you ethicists out there:
I'm there 1.5 hours early to a book-signing event. During that time someone puts down a fanny pack and an umbrella on two seats next to mine. Fast forward an hour, and it's 10 minutes till showtime and the owners of these items are nowhere to be seen. The room is now absolutely packed, and everyone is eying these seats.
An elderly woman and her very frail husband ask me if the seats are taken. I stand up and ask the crowd if anyone left their items there. No one answers. I tell them to sit down. A man in front of me gives me a look and says, "That's not how things are supposed to work." I ignore him. The couple sit down and thank me. Her husband is rail thin and unsteady on his feet, and needs help sitting down. He looks about 80 at least.
Well, just before the event is supposed to start, the people with the items come back... and they are also senior citizens, although they only look about 70 and in very good health. They tell us that those are their seats. I told them that they weren't here so I give them away to this needy couple. The late-comers say, "Sorry, but we arrived here an hour early to get these seats."
The older couple awkwardly shuffle out, and we all feel like assholes. Luckily, a person in a nearby row offers his seat to the elderly man (I tried to offer mine but he didn't hear me).
So: Which wins out - arriving early and staking out a seat vs. giving a seat to someone older than you are... even if you're 70.
My opinion: I probably should have shut up and respected the time-honored ritual of seat saving, but I also get points for trying.