DEAR MISS MANNERS: Standing at an airport carousel waiting for my luggage, I noticed two small children playing with the moving belt by running their hands along the edge. Their (I assume) mother was some distance away engaged in conversation, so I spoke sharply and firmly at the children, "Stop doing that!" And they stopped.
As expected, since my words had attracted her attention, I received a nasty rebuke from Mom. Fortunately, my bag arrived, so I grabbed it and walked away without a word. Did I handle this situation properly?
GENTLE READER: Although etiquette generally bans disciplining other people's children, it makes an exception when danger of injury is imminent or even likely. Small, unattended children running their hands around moving machinery, while heavy objects hurtle toward them, amply justifies direct action. Miss Manners thanks you, even if their careless guardian did not.