German mayor creates “bench for teens”

From Reuters/Yahoo! News:

BERLIN (Reuters) – A mayor in Germany is attracting interest from other cities after he installed a special park bench for town teens who refuse to sit properly.

After residents of the southwestern city of Eppelheim complained teenagers always sat on the top of benches, rather than on the seat itself which they dirtied with their shoes, Mayor Dieter Moerlein came up with the idea of putting the seat on top.

The first of Moerlein’s benches was installed last week and he is already fielding calls from interested cities in Germany, he told Reuters on Tuesday.

“The reception has been overwhelming,” Moerlein said. “Whoever wants to build one, be my guest.”

The mayor of 17 years calls them “no-interest” benches because teens have “no interest in following etiquette. They all sit on the new benches like sparrows on a branch,” he said.

In a country reputed for its orderliness, putting your shoes on a public seat often earns a quick rebuke from passersby.

In one extreme case, a 69-year-old pensioner wounded an 18-year-old man with a knife on Sunday after the teen would not take his feet off of a seat on a train.

But in Eppelheim the bench has been a sufficient solution for all parties in a city best known for strudel and global food ingredient maker Rudolf Wild GmbH.

“Kids are happy because there are no rules against sitting on the back of benches,” the mayor said. “Others are happy because they now have a clean place to sit.”

(Photo by PS Geschwill)

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