I witnessed a lady bursting in tears while using the phone (I assume she was conversing with someone via text), at the gate. Particularly, this happened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

She was sitting on the floor and continued to cry hard...

It was the first time that I witnessed such a scene and I’m still unsure about how to proceed. From the multitude of people that was there just a few persons went and talked to her.

Personally: I wanted to ask her how I could help, but I didn’t feel in the mood to do that... I felt I would cry as well...

How, if possible, can I best help a person in this context, without being rude/intrusive? What would be the best questions to ask?

  • Hi there, and welcome to IPS. I've made some edit of your OP hopefully without betraying the main idea and goal. I removed a part being intrapersonal. Please let us know if it's OK with you, feel free to edit/improve/rollback. Thanks
    – OldPadawan
    Dec 18, 2019 at 12:05
  • Hi, is it possible to add a location tag? I suspect the answers will vary greatly depending on your country Dec 18, 2019 at 16:00
  • 3
    @AlexRobinson : not sure if it would help => Op said international airport in Brazil = people can then be from anywhere in the world and just crossing paths.
    – OldPadawan
    Dec 18, 2019 at 18:02

1 Answer 1


From my own experience of crying in a train in Germany when I broke up with my boyfriend, I can say I was a bit shocked that no one approached me. I wouldn't want to answer questions about what happened, but being offered an handkerchief and some help would have been great.

So what I would have liked in this situation is a sympathetic stranger coming up asking something like

Hey, do you need anything? May I get you a handkerchief? If you want to be left alone just say so, but I am happy to keep you some company or get you something you need.

Anyway, I would only do this if there is nobody else approaching the person already, as I would not want to deal with a stream of people I would have to send away if I were the one crying.


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