I remember in the states, specifically in Oregon, any time a little old lady passed, there would be an inkling to help. Cross the street. Get than can off of the top shelf. Move off the seat of the bus so she doesn't go flying around.
France is a bit of a different world. We already know that the driver's are insane and you can barely step off of a street corner without fear of being craser but worse is the behavior towards the elderly.
My story starts in a grocery store. I was at the caisse popping my things onto the belt to get scanned, preparing my bags to pop the groceries in, because the dude moves so fast I never have enough time to shove it all away until he cries, the price.
The little old lady in front of me was trying desperately to keep up with the cashier, but was failing miserably. For each item she was able to shakily put away, the cashier would shove over another four. I finally realized that no one would help her, not even the cashier. I wandered over, "Voudriez-vous d'aide madame?" I smiled. The PLOL (poor little old lady) smiled a missing tooth smile and proclamed, "c'est TROP gentille madamoiselle", so off I went getting it all bagged and evenly weighed out. At the end of paying she looked over at me and said, "Il n'y a beaucoup des gens comme vous, madamoiselle." (There aren't a lot of people like you) I nodded and responded, "Je ne suis pas Française, je suis américaine." (I'm not French, I'm American). She smiled at me, and shuffled away.
The second story is on the bus. I got onto the bus one day and it started to move, I noticed a little old lady coming on that could barely walk and had an oxygen machine. As she shuffled down the aisles she was obviously having a difficult time not falling on her head, so I moved from my spot and held her still until she got into her seat. Everyone just sat and looked away, as if she didn't exist!!!
So I was confused. I finally asked around to friends what the deal WAS. They explained to me that in general, if an elderly person cannot care for them selves, it's a dog eat dog world. They need to learn how to survive in the world, because the helping hand is not always there. Plus they respect the elderly as they don't want to make them feel frail or unable.
I still will always give my seat up, and help the old lady get the can. I can adapt to cultures, but for this I will keep my personality.