A flight attendant saved a teen girl from a human trafficker when she noticed the disheveled girl on a plane and communicated with her in secret.
Shelia Fedrick, 49, says she was working as a flight attendant on an Alaska Airlines flight from Seattle to San Francisco when she spotted a teen about 14 or 15 years old sitting in the window seat next to a well-groomed man, NBC News reports.
Fedrick noticed the stark contrast between the two — the girl having dirty hair who looked like she “had been through pure hell,” and the well-dressed man.
When Fedrick spoke to the two passengers, the girl would not look at or respond to the airline attendant, only the man would talk, she said.
The man reportedly would act defensively when Fedrick engaged in conversation with them, the Daily Mail reports.
The Alabama woman eventually gave the girl a message to go to the bathroom, where she had attached a note on the mirror.
“She wrote on the note she needed help,” Fedrick said.
The flight attendant informed the pilot about the situation, who called police.
Law enforcement officials arrested the man when the plane arrived.
“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,” she said, WTSP reports.
Fedrick stayed in touch over the years with the girl she saved, who is now in college.
Flight attendants are given tips on how to detect a human trafficking situation as part of their training, anti-trafficking organization Airline Ambassadors International reports.
The organization trained a group of 100 flight attendants in Houston on how to spot signs of human-trafficking.
At the seminar, the flight attendants learned to notice disheveled passengers, people who speak for the victim, or signs of drugging.
On a Star Now online profile, Fedrick said: “I love to smile, like being around people, that’s why I’m a flight attendant. Loving working with people and taking risk.”
The model and actress has been an extra on Lifetime and HBO shows and was pictured in Ebony Magazine.
She says she is “willing to put in hard work.”