I am a general adherent to the principle that "Not My People = Not My Problem." While there are absolutely situations under which I would intervene in on behalf of a stranger, my default position is not to get involved when I do not fully understand the circumstances.
Right after the photo above was taken, a slender gentleman got on the bus wearing a backpack. He seated himself in the back right corner, behind the woman and opposite the man in the photo. This new passenger was followed onto the bus by two police officers who positioned themselves on either side of him. Through subtle motions, it became clear the new passenger was under surveillance by these officers and was not free to move about. No one said anything.
I was seated on the row opposite the woman with three of my kids.
This was not where I wanted to be. I do not know what caused the officers’ interest in this man and while a part of me wanted to find out, the sensible part of my brain said, "GET OFF THE BUS!"
At the next stop I escorted by party off the bus. The other gentleman also decided he had other places to be and got off with us. It was 100 degrees downtown but I still preferred to walk rather than stay on that bus.
Nothing happened. The man got off at the next stop after us. The officers followed suit and were interviewing him a block away. We moved laterally by a block to avoid that scene as well. I saw the man shortly afterward so nothing must have come of his interview.
It was still the correct call and I’d do it again today under the same circumstances.