In 2011, a flight attendant named Shelia Fedrick was working an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco when she noticed a pair of passengers who she’d not soon forget.
First she saw a girl sitting at a window seat. Shelia guessed the girl was about 14 or 15 years old, with greasy blonde hair. Shelia recalls thinking she “looked like she had been through pure hell.” Next to the teenage girl was an older man. “He was well dressed,” says Shelia. “That’s what kind of got me, because why is he well dressed and she is looking disheveled and out of sorts.” The contrast caught her eye. “Something in the back of my mind said something’s not right.”
When Shelia approached to talk to the pair, she was struck by the fact that the man spoke for them both, never letting the girl answer. The girl avoided eye contact with Shelia, and Shelia noticed that the more questions she asked the more defensive the man became.
Under her breath, Shelia instructed the girl to go to the bathroom.
Shelia left a note on the bathroom mirror for the girl. After she used the restroom, the girl added onto the note with a message for Shelia: “I need help.”
Shelia told the pilot about the situation, and the pilot contacted the airport in San Francisco. Police were waiting for the man when the plane landed.
Shelia had left her phone number on the note for the girl. “I guess she memorized it,” says Shelia, “a few weeks later, she called me.”
It turns out, the girl had been kidnapped and was the victim of human trafficking. Who knows where that girl would be today if not for Shelia’s heroism!
Now, the girl is attending college and still keeps up with Shelia.
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