For instance, I was once in line to talk to a ticketing agent at the airport. I was the only person in line, and a man approached me asking politely if he could skip ahead. He was trying to get on a flight that was leaving very soon. His manner was polite and I could tell he was desperate. It probably also helped that there was nobody in line behind me, and that I had plenty of time to kill. I agreed and he was able to get on the flight, thanking me profusely after speaking to the agent. It made me feel good to help him.
That doesn’t always mean you can count on others to let you skip the wait. A friend of mine was at a festival recently. She and her family were waiting in a very long line to get food; it took a good 45 minutes. They were nearing the counter when a man came out of nowhere and paid the woman at the front of the line to let him order with her. He wasn’t in a rush; he just didn’t want to wait. The woman accepted, but everyone in the line soon revolted. Letting this man skip ahead meant they would have to wait longer for their orders. If he wanted to cut, he should have cleared it with everyone waiting. The grill was small, and adding his last-minute order added another 15 minutes to my friend’s wait time. The man and the woman who let him cut made many enemies.
Clearly, there’s both a right way and a wrong way to do it. Be considerate, kind, and polite.