After a few minutes of sniffling, it started to sound like maybe it wasn't the Plague. It actually sounded like maybe she was crying. My brain processed this slowly while I sat there thinking about saying something basic like "Are you okay?"
My brain is slow. And I am a cad.
While I deliberated, a counselor (I'm guessing) came from out of nowhere and spoke soothingly to her and by then, the woman was in full-on sob mode. The counselor (God bless her) talked her into taking a break to have a chat with her.
And I sat there with the reality that I am an ass. I was worrying about germs while a person less than two feet from me was having a crisis.
I think about compassion more than I act on it.
And then you kick yourself because you weren't thoughtful, or you tried and just ended up sounding dumb and awkward.
I'm 45 years old and I still don't know how.
Like that counselor. Where did she come from? Who alerted her? Does she have a spidey sense for stuff like that? Because it's a big campus.
Absolutely. Yes times infinity. I missed an opportunity to show compassion to a fellow student in dire need of someone willing to lend her some time. The woman who approached her, engaged with her, and presumably gave her a bit of comfort is a super hero. I am humbled.