An Alaska Airlines flight attendant rescued a victim of human trafficking after noticing a “disheveled” girl with greasy hair traveling with a well-dressed man.
Sheila Fedrick, 49, was working a flight from Seattle to San Francisco when she noticed the girl, who looked around 14 or 15 years old.
“Something in the back of my mind said something was not right. 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?” Fedrick said.
When Fedrick tried to engage the pair, the girl would try to avoid speaking or looking at her, and the man would interrupt the girl and seemed defensive. The flight attendant also said she had the impression that the girl had “been through pure hell.”
Thinking quickly, Fedrick left a note for the teenager in the plane’s bathroom, stuck to the mirror. She later wrote back on her note with the message: “I need help.” The flight attendant informed pilots, who notified police in San Francisco.
The man was arrested when the plane landed. Fedrick is being lauded for her instinct and called a hero for her action on this flight in 2011 that may have saved a girl’s life.
Incredibly, the girl memorized Fedrick’s phone number that she had left on the note, and called her a few weeks later. The two have stayed in touch, and the girl is now attending college.
This story from almost six years ago came to light as flight attendants are being educated to be aware of passengers who may be traveling against their will. Last month, around 100 flight attendants volunteered for a two-day seminar held in Houston that taught in-flight crews to recognize the signs of human trafficking, timed to coincide with last Sunday’s big football championship in the city.
They were taught to be on alert for passengers who appear to be frightened, young people traveling with someone who doesn’t appear to be a parent or relative, and children or adults who appear bruised or battered.
Main photo: Sheila Fedrick [Good Morning Britain/screenshot]