DEAR AMY: I am perplexed by a situation my husband and I witnessed this afternoon in the downtown area of a large city we were visiting. A woman waiting for a bus held a screaming child by the neck of his T-shirt as she yelled at him. She claimed that she could not let him go or he'd run. She had his shirt collar wrapped around her fist and his left arm wrenched within it all. The boy was about five or six years old and was crying so loudly we could still hear him shrieking even when we were blocks away. We were not the only ones to witness this situation. But I am ashamed to say, we did nothing to help this little guy. And neither did anyone else. I just did not know what to do. What should we have done?

Sick at Heart

DEAR SICK: I have heard from many people who have said that when they were children others had witnessed their parents berating and/or physically abusing them in public, and that it broke their heart to feel so invisible to onlookers.

Yes, you should have intervened. Worst-case scenario, he wasn't her child and was being taken against his will.

On an appalling par with that awful prospect, she is his parent or guardian and treats him this way regularly.

One way to intervene is to simply try to interrupt the dynamic. You say (to the woman), "Wow, this is rough. Can I help?" Then you bend down, try to make eye contact with the upset child, and say, "Hi, buddy. Can you try to calm down and talk to me? Can you take a deep breath? Are you OK?"

Depending on what happens and how you perceive it, you should say, "I'm going to stand here near you until everybody calms down." And then — again depending on what you see and perceive — you should consider calling the police.

DEAR AMY: I am an admin at a large company. I love my job and work very hard. I am privileged to be able to work from home, but when necessary I work in the office. There is a person in the office whose job does not allow working from home. Every time she passes by she makes a remark like, "My, you're working a long day today!" I always stay for at least eight and often 10 to 12 hours when I come into the office. I feel like she's being snarky. I know there is resentment among some people in the office toward those who get to work primarily from home. I have emailed this particular co-worker from my home office, and also IM'd her on our internal messaging app regarding business-related topics, and she completely ignores me. Am I being overly sensitive? Is there something I can say to her to get her to stop making that same remark to me every time I see her?

Hard Working & Homeshored

DEAR HOMESHORED: It's possible that your co-worker IS being intentionally snarky. It's also possible that she is just — basically — greeting you with the benign sort of throwaway that people who don't really know one another use.

Passive aggression only works if you bite the hook. You've done that, internally, by assuming that she is calling you out on the privilege you admit to and enjoy.

So own it. She says, "You're working a long day today!" and you say something innocuous like, "No work day is long if you love what you do, amirite?"

And then you segue: "Hey, I'm concerned because I've sent you a few emails and IMs, but you haven't responded. Are you not receiving them? I want to make sure you're receiving my work messages. Can you double-check and get back to me?"

DEAR AMY: "Nervous Nelly" described debilitating anxiety after giving birth. After the birth of my third child, I learned about postpartum anxiety. It isn't as well discussed as postpartum depression, but it is just as real and debilitating. I feel like if I had heard of it before, my husband and I would have noticed signs of it far sooner. Once I got treatment, I felt like myself again, and I only needed over-the-counter supplements. It can show up after any birth. I hope this new mom will realize that taking care of herself is just as vital as taking care of her baby.

Been There

DEAR BEEN THERE: I share your concern. Thank you.

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