What should you do if you pick up a passenger that is crying after having just got broken up with by her boyfriend?
When I pulled up, it was 3 am and what was taking place was obvious from the young couples body language. A guy was breaking up with his girlfriend and he had called her an Uber to take her home afterwards.
When she got into my car, I simply asked her if she was okay and offered her a tissue. It was actually a fast food napkin that was in my center console and I happened to have a car air freshener in there as well which made the napkin smell like the air freshener. She thanked me and asked me why the paper towel smelled so damn good which seemed like an odd question to ask at the time but she was clearly simply trying to lighten the mood since she got into my car while bawling uncontrollably, creating an awkward entrance.
Her question somewhat lightened the mood but she continued to cry her eyes out while trying to catch her breath. I felt horrible for her and didn’t know what, if anything, I should say to her to try and console her.
So I just played music and didn’t say a word to her until I dropped her off. Which I then said to her “things will get better…you’ll be okay.” She thanked me with a look that indicated we were on the same page, checked the reflection of her recently cried out eyes in the window, probably to hide the recent event from her parents (she looked around 18), took a long deep breath, and got out looking like she just got punched in the heart by Mike Tyson. Being a teenager can be brutal.
In these situations, I think its usually better to say nothing at all while also subtly empathizing with them.