I would like to have a dialogue about an issue I see nearly every year at PAX in the convention center halls, and what to do (or not do) as a bystander or witness. I've attended PAX EAST every single year since PAX East 2011.
Every year I walk by or pass someone (at least once) at the convention center in tears. This year it was a woman at an adjacent hotel, sitting on the floor in a corner of the hotel lobby crying. I could not tell if she was with friends, but I did notice another woman standing next to her.
I know that depending on where you are at the convention center, it can be a pretty overwhelming place for some people, the exhibitor hall is crowded and some people need to get out of there to catch their breath and take a break to overcome a panic attack. I also witnessed some people arrive at PAX with uncertain accommodations (no hotel room), thinking they can crash with their friend and then it falls through. A breakdown and tears follow as they seem lost with no where to go as they have no hotel backup plan in place.
A couple years prior I witnessed another woman in tears while talking to her boyfriend. He didn't seem concerned, as she stood in front of him crying and he just sat there. I later approached the woman and asked her "I know it's really known of my business, but are you OK, do you need any kind of help?". She smiled and said she was fine, I said OK and went on my way. I didn't know the full extent of their conflict and just had to let it go.
Do you help, do you refer them to the Take This AFK room, or do you mind your own business? I am aware that Take This does great work with their AFK room at PAX and other conventions. I will probably ask them if they offer cards I could pass out to attendees I see in distress.
As a downer of a topic this is, which takes place at a fun event such as PAX, I'd like to hear how people have dealt with situations like this.