Stranger danger: Teenage girl does all the right things after being followed - Must Read Alaska
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Sunday, November 17, 2019
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Stranger danger: Teenage girl does all the right things after being followed

Pastor Matt, Krystal, and Mikaila Wyatt

A teenage girl traveling from Sacramento, Calif. to Walla Walla, Wash. on Aug. 5 trusted her instincts during a layover in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

She noticed a man following her too closely for too long, staring at her too hard, and making her uncomfortable. After hours of noticing his unusual attention to her, she had enough. She called her parents in tears.

It was the Alaska Airlines crew that made sure she got home safely, but her experience is a lesson for all teens traveling alone: Trust your instincts, and find an adult that you can trust. Here’s her story:

Mikaila Wyatt was looking around the airport concourse for something to eat, when she saw a man walk by her in the opposite direction.

According to Mikaila’s father, who posted the entire account on Facebook, the man stared at his daughter and then turned around and followed her closely.

“Close enough that she could feel his presence,” wrote Matthew Wyatt, who is a church pastor. Wyatt learned about the situation when he got a tearful call from his daughter: “There’s a man coming after me,” Mikaila told her dad. She was so scared, she could barely articulate more.

Our hearts both stopped. Here’s the story and why Alaska Airlines has become our favorite airline,” wrote Wyatt.

It’s a story that all parents sending their college students off on an airplane by themselves as they return to school should heed:

“While my daughter was looking for something to eat, a man was walking by coming from the opposite direction. As they passed, the man stopped and started staring at my daughter. He then turned around and followed her close enough that she could feel his presence. She got on the train that took her to her gate, and he got on with her. Standing next to her, he got on the phone and started talking in hushed tones. He followed her all the way to her gate before leaving. She breathed a sigh of relief until the man returned a half hour later and sat near her. She realized that he had a plane ticket to Walla Walla and would be flying with her.

“This man wouldn’t stop staring at her, so my daughter got up and started walking away. The man followed her. She was so scared that she went up to a complete stranger and asked to stand with her. The lady told her that she needed to contact security right away. Not knowing the next step, my daughter realized that the plane was about to board. My daughter’s boarding group was group D. As she stood up to get in line, the man stood up and went right behind my daughter. He was so close that my daughter could look down and saw that his ticket said he was in group A…. He was already supposed to be boarding.”

As passengers walked outside to board the plane, Mikaila approached one of the ground crew members and tearfully asked him for help. 

“She tried explaining through her tears what was happening. He immediately sprung to action and took her to a safe room where they calmed her down and asked what had happened. After she had explained the situation, 7 men who work for the airport walked her onto the plane that was already boarded. One of the men even tried to buy a ticket to ride with her to Walla Walla and then fly back just to make sure she was safe. The pilot assured the man and my daughter that he would keep her safe. He brought her into the cockpit and told her that she would be sitting up front next to a flight attendant the entire flight, and that he would make sure that she was the first to get off the plane.

“Not only did this pilot make sure that she got off the plane first, but he personally walked her off the plane and walked her through the terminal until he was sure that she was safe with me and my wife,” Wyatt wrote.

Pastor Wyatt said he didn’t know the man’s intentions, but he did notice that he stood close to the family in the baggage claim area of the Walla Walla airport.

“My daughter was so scared that she hid behind me and a pole. After I turned around to look at him, I saw that he had left. He didn’t have a bag to pick up so we don’t know why he was waiting at the baggage terminal.”

“As a father, I am so grateful to Alaska airlines, the ground personnel at SeaTac airport, and especially pilot Matt for taking the steps to make sure my little girl came home to us safe. You have made us a customer for life,” Wyatt wrote.

As for the stranger, the airline has his name and was handling the matter.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Joe Biden will never learn.

    • Genius!

    • It is so nice that you are amused enough by this girls terrifying experience to make a political joke. I bet all the women in your life feel safer just knowing you would be there for them, always ready to try to find a way to laugh at their feelings.

      • well-stated, Mags

      • Thank you. Those nasty commenters are pigs. It should be their daughter, right? Maybe then they’ll understand.

        • It should NEVER be anyone’s daughter.

        • What a stupid, hateful thing to say!! It should be no one’s daughter! All lives matter, all women AND men should be able to live without fear regardless if we agree or disagree with things they say, or their beliefs. I would never wish harm on any person. Your comment was pure evil smfh!!

          • Wish You had stopped at “evil” with a period rather than adding the last four unnecessary letters.

      • I was so upset by this article, and got to the Joe Biden comment and BURST out laughing. I needed it personally!

    • Pretty good!

    • That was actually Epstein back from the grave ?

    • Stop it…

  • To the Alaska airlines crew, very well handled.

  • Why wasn’t the man confronted??? Predators thrive on defenseless preys…until they realize there’s an Alpha in the house. How come none of the 7 men, the pilot or the father approach the guy and said “Hi, I am so-and-so what us your name? I understood you’ve been staring at my daughter.?”

    • Agree! And what about airport security?

    • Nailed it O-Town.

  • This is really bizarre and frightening. When traveling alone it is so important to pay attention. I am wondering where airport security was in all of this? Did Alaska Air report the incident? It seems this strange mysterious passenger might merit some investigation.

    • Smart girl knew what to do praise the Lord for keeping this Angel safe and bringing her home! Thank you Alaska Airlines for taking precautions to keep her safe. My teenage son flying on Alaska Airlines next week….thatnk you for this reminder to watch out for everyones safety! God bless you all! ❤❤❤

  • Good for the girl for doing all the right things. Good for her.

    • They will see this guy again. He is probably the point man for a human trafficking group. They need to get him and whomever he was talking to. Thank God she is safe.

  • Smart girl, glad she had the presence of mind to act, rather than let it go.
    Good situational awareness, always trust your gut.
    This guy was dangerous, obviously, his conduct aberrant and out of place.
    Good on Alaska Airlines and the ground crew, did the right thing across the board.
    The family needs to thank God for their daughter’s good sense.
    I hope the pilot reported the man to the Walla Walla PD and had them waiting to greet the flight upon landing.
    Willing to bet that this was not the first time for him . . .

  • A very timely and newsworthy article Suzanne. Yes, this sort of thing really happens in the world and all to often it is women (girls) who are the victims . My hat is off and my respect goes out all the men who assisted this young lady but especially to the Ak Airlines staff and crew who demonstrated , once again, that they have a heart and care about much more than moving people and collecting a paycheck.

  • Shoulda, Coulda, Wouldas, are a no matter to the end result. She acted maturally and people stepped up above and beyond and She is safe by the Grace of God..THATS WHAT MATTERS.. also they know who he is and they are on it. Videos throughout the terminal will verify a strong case for Stalking with intent at the least…

  • Recommendation…before calling her folks she might ha e taken a picture of the perp and txt it to her parents. God forbid she had been attacked before making the call. The mere fact that the perp would have know his picture was taken might have been enough for him to back off.

    In reality he was being creepy but not illegal. I doubt anything will happen to him unless he’s “wanted” for some other crime.

  • Reading this made me cry. I myself am a teenager and this is inspiring for me. I’m also really glad she took the right steps and the airline kept her safe. It also makes me think about those who didn’t take precautions and got hurt. Thank Lord for protecting Mikaila.

  • This girl scared as she was noticed the man and had enough sense to take his actions as a potential ly very real threat. She also wasn’t buried in a phone and or ear plugs: lessons for anyone of us traveling.

  • No matter who thinks the Airline personal shoulda, cooda, woulda do this or that more, the simple fact that positive action was taken is awesome. These day it seems more often than not people are unfeeling toward persons’ perceived concerns. Bravo for helping her.

  • Yes, how could one’s thoughts go straight to political humor? Truly the insensitive comment paints a broad ugly picture of the lack of compassion, real sympathy, and any insight into the reality of the potential tragedy the rest of us realized. A young girl is stalked at an airport, the man buys a ticket with no luggage and follows her, etc. Wth? I wish she had gone to airport security FIRST. We would all do something differently with hindsight. But what matters is the outcome. Praise God!

  • Joe, good thought but she was terrified. I posted I wish she had gone straight to security. An adult may have been cool headed enough to take a pic. Thank you for the advice! I’m filing that and considering teaching it to my kids. I feel like if she called parents in tears, maybe advise her to stay put and go to security.? Call the police? Not sure if she was leaving or going home.

  • Probably not a great idea to post her name and her family’s names on the blog. Now the stranger and his associates know who she is and could easily track her down!

  • An outstanding justification for martial art training and practice.

  • I recommend everyone read a book called, “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin DeBecker. It points up that human beings evolved (were created with) instincts that go deeper than our reason for when situations “feel funny.” Too often in today’s world we are, as a commenter noted above, wrapped up in our electronics and unaware of our surroundings. Even worse, even when we are aware, we have been socialized to not “judge” people, and thus not accept valid inferences of danger picked up by our senses that we cannot immediately rationalize.

    So we get onto the elevator, or proceed toward our car in a lonely parking lot, or ignore the person paying too much interest or seemingly out of place, because we’ve internalized not being “rude” or “racist” or all the other PC nonsense of the day.

    Kudos to this young lady for heeding her instincts and taking action. The next step is to realize that the world is not a safe place, and to start actively thinking about various situations and what a course of action might be, so there won’t be delay or indecision in acting. It doesn’t take long, and is not “living in fear.” Indeed, once you face reality and plan for evil, you have less reason to fear.

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