If you saw something bad happening, would you be able to stop it? What if you weren’t sure if something was going on, but you had a gut feeling that you needed to help, would you act on that instinct?
Well, one flight attendant did just that. In doing so, she saved a teenage girl from sex trafficking.
Alaska Airlines Flight Attendant Shelia Frederick couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong on her flight from Seattle to San Francisco.
A teen girl and a well-dressed older man boarded the flight together, but the young woman never made eye contact or interacted with the flight crew — the man she was traveling with spoke for her.
“Something in the back of my mind said something was not right,” Frederick told WTSP. He was well-dressed. That’s what got me because I thought why is he well-dressed and she is looking all disheveled and out of sorts?”
She tried to talk to the two and was shut out by the man. The girl seemed to be scared of him, so Frederick was sure she needed to be careful about how she handled the situation.
She wrote a note in the bathroom and secretly told the girl to go use it. The note asked if she was OK, and the girl wrote back on it.
Frederick explained: “She wrote on the note she needed help.”
Frederick then alerted the pilot, and the pilot notified the police, who took the man into custody upon the plane’s arrival in San Francisco. The flight attendant had prevented the teen girl’s entry into sex trafficking.
More recently, flight attendants have been pushing for better training in order to spot scenarios of human trafficking.
Thousands of teenagers and children are trafficked every year, and many of them are transported on flights. If more flight attendants could recognize these children as being in trouble, they could save more of them.
Frederick believes that this training will make a big difference and save more lives.
“I’ve been a flight attendant for 10 years and it’s like I am going all the way back to when I was in training and I was like I could have seen these young girls and young boys and didn’t even know.”
Frederick and the teenager have kept in touch over the years. Frederick put her phone number on the original note, and the girl memorized it. They talk often, and Frederick learned that the girl was attending college and doing well.
Watch the video below for more details: