Years ago I remember walking past a woman sobbing in a park. I wanted to go and see if she was ok but my shyness got the better of me. What if she didn't want to talk to a stranger? I have to admit I still regret that I never went to see if she was ok.
Two years ago I was sobbing in a public place. I was on a flight from Sydney to Taree. Luckily I was at the front of this small aircraft, and no one was next to me, accept for the flight attendant. As we took off tears streamed down my face and they became unstoppable. I was on the way to visit my mother in hospital. I did not know if I would make it or not in time as she was dying. As I sat on that flight, the flight attendant saw me crying and asked if I was ok? I told her the reason and she kindly put her hand on my shoulder, and gave me a box of tissues. She respected my grief and made sure that I had privacy.
Two years on I was sitting on the same airline (REX) after visiting my dad and daughter in the country. During the flight a lady opposite me was sobbing. It brought back my memories of crying on this airline two years ago. This time I didn't hesitate. I leaned over and asked her if she was all right? She said yes and obviously didn't want to talk about it. I'm not sure why she was crying. But whatever it was at least she knew someone cared. As we left the plane I told her to take care, and she smiled in appreciation.
It never hurts to reach out to a stranger in distress. They may welcome your gesture or they may tell you to piss off, whatever, it doesn't matter because no one knows what others may be going through. Reach out anyway.