This evening I saw a young couple with a very young boy, about two-years-old. The man called out the window dramatically to someone who wasn’t there, theatrical in tone, from an adult perspective. Repeatedly he called, “You want this little boy?” Ducking inside he told the boy he would get off at the next stop, to be handed off to a stranger. The boy was crying. The boy was terrified at the prospect of being abandoned. The boy promised desperately, between sobs, “not to act out.” The woman laughed and laughed at the man’s success at fooling—-and terrifying—-the boy. It was the most troubling episode of this kind I’ve witnessed in several years commuting by mass transit. My heart sank for the prospects for this young person, his identity shaped by a real, drummed-in fear of separation and abandonment, humiliated and betrayed by the only people he knew to love.