I don't normally cry easily, but I also don't like to cry publicly.
The last time I ended up crying in public was in front of my old boss, who was a jerk. My grandma was scheduled to go in for angioplasty surgery on a Thursday, but when I checked in with my mom on my break on Wednesday, she indicated to me that it was being done that same afternoon, and I immediately got the feeling that something was wrong.
I had planned to take half of Thursday off to be with my grandmother for the surgery, so that was all arranged. I wanted to go in and talk to my boss to tell him the surgery was being done that day instead of the agreed-upon day and ask him permission to leave early. It was already 11:30, but my boss was on the phone and I didn't want to interrupt him, so I sat and waited 15 minutes for him to get off the phone. When he was still on the phone at 11:45, I took it upon myself to call his office voicemail (he was on a personal call, as he was on his cell phone at the time) and left him a message saying that my grandmother's surgery was being done that afternoon instead of the next day, so I was taking an early lunch and would make it up when I got back the next day.
It was a good thing I left when I did, as I got to the hospital (an hour's drive in lunch-hour traffic) at the instant that she had suffered a stroke post-operation, and when I called my mom to notify her that I was there and we (my cousin, a close family friend and my grandpa) were just getting ready to park, I was in total shock when my mom was in tears and all she could say was, "Grandma's dying...grandma's dying...get here as quick as you can. Grandma's dying...please get here."
It takes a lot to make my mom break down like that, so I instantly panicked, started crying, and told my cousin to just let us out and find parking and meet us as quickly as he could.
Grandma survived the stroke but is still in the hospital to this very day and is very ill. I ended up not going back the next day - I was off work for the remainder of the week, and when I came back in to work on Monday, I was treated to a rant on why I couldn't have waited till my boss was off the phone (I waited a good 45 minutes; I learned later that he was on the phone till well into lunchtime - ON A PERSONAL CALL) or at least waited till noon to leave, as a routine medical procedure on a relative is not an emergency.
I broke down in angry tears and told him that he didn't have any idea of the state of my grandmother's health, we had already arranged that I was to leave early the next day anyway, and that given the precarious state of my grandmother's health I had warned him that the situation could change at any time. As it was, I arrived the very moment they had found out she'd had a stroke - had I waited those 15 minutes to leave, she could very well have died. He told me that leaving "on a whim" was inexcusable and unprofessional (this from the man who was on the phone for over an hour, conducting business for his other job, when I needed to tell him that I had to leave), and that my job came first, before any family duties, unless a family member was on the point of death.
That was the last straw; at that point I lost all professionalism, sobbing hysterically and telling him, "Which part of 'my grandmother had a near-fatal stroke' DIDN'T sound like she was on the point of death?" He couldn't answer me, and I admit that at that point I was completely out of control. I was screaming and yelling that my family came before ANY job for me, especially my grandparents, to whom I was very close and I wasn't about to make work a priority over my family, EVER - because I could always find another job but I couldn't just find another grandmother. It didn't end there - I was in his office for nearly 2 hours - but the whole unit heard me rip several strips off him. I've never been so out-of-control angry with a boss my entire life, and I've had some doozies - but this guy took the cake.
I ended up taking this to the acting division manager, for which I was ridiculed by my boss because I'd only been working there a year, he was good friends with the ADM, and he'd been here 15 years and "knew a lot of people" in the County. At that point, I took it up with the union because I saw it as harassment - I was an employee in good standing, I'd had a legitimate family emergency, I had sufficient personal time to cover the days I was gone (save one day, and I took that one without pay), and he was making veiled threats based on my position and my longevity with the County, and I found that unacceptable.
I'm not proud of how I behaved, but he went so beyond the pale that I lost all control of myself, and that's the only time I've ever done so at work. I was so enraged it was unbelievable. My whole unit heard that argument, and even though they sided with me, it was incredibly embarrassing.
So, in short: yes, there is a time and place for crying publicly, and I admit that that time and place isn't in your boss's office when you're in a complete rage. I'm generally pretty even-tempered and try my best to remain professional at work, but one very quick way to get my goat is to tell me what my priorities or my beliefs should be, especially as regards my career and my family, because for me, nothing comes before my family. Ever.