DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a commuter and take the train. On a few occasions, I've had a sleepless night and end up falling asleep on the train. The few times I've done this I wake up in the station and am almost late for work. I'm thankful I've never had anything stolen from me.
I've been seeing commuters who fall asleep on the train and don't wake up when the train pulls into the final stop. Should I wake them up? I know sleep is important, but I always feel bad passing someone by who is still sleeping in work clothes at 8 a.m. on the train. What if they have somewhere to be? Are there any etiquette rules that say I shouldn't be gently nudging someone to wake them up? -- No Snooze Button, Westchester, New York
DEAR NO SNOOZE BUTTON: My first inclination is to suggest that you tell the conductor or whoever is actually working on the train that someone is sleeping in a particular car. Then, that official person can wake the sleeping passenger.
If that does not seem possible, then yes, you can attempt to wake the person. Be sure to stand in front of the person so that when he or she awakens, you are immediately visible. Try speaking loudly to wake the person up without touching. If your voice alone doesn't work, put your hand on his or her arm with a firm tap. The other option is the hand, as long as it is not in the person's lap. Basically, think about how you would like to be awakened, surely with tenderness and respect. Do the same.