The girl's mother took to Facebook to thank the staff at Texas Starbucks for looking out for her daughter.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on February 22, 2022.
Bartas at a Texas Starbucks are being lauded for supporting an 18-year-old girl after she was approached by a shifty stranger. They sent a very secret message to let her know that they were ready to intervene at any moment and gave her a secret signal to make if she wanted them to. She told her mother about the baristas helping her at Starbucks and she took to Facebook to thank them for offering help. Brandy Roberson, the girl's mother, took to Facebook and shared an image of the baristas' ingenious message to her daughter. On the cup in a handwritten note, the message read: “Are you okay? Do you want us to intervene? If you do, take the lid off the cup,” reported TODAY.
Roberson said her daughter wanted to remain anonymous. She said her daughter had gone to the coffee shop to study by herself when she was approached by the stranger. She was at the Starbucks in Corpus Christi, Texas on a Saturday night when it happened. “She wanted to get out of the house and go sit and study somewhere. She likes to go study at coffee shops,” she said. Roberson explained in the Facebook post that a barista handed her daughter “an extra hot chocolate someone forgot to pick up” after the stranger started talking to her. Roberson thanked the staff at Starbucks for looking out for her. "She felt safe and did not remove the lid, but let them know," she wrote in the post. "She said the whole team was watching over her the rest of the time she was there." The post was later taken down, possibly to protect her daughter's identity.
"She was holding the cup and knew that I would love that someone did that for her," said Roberson. "It made me feel so grateful that the Starbucks employees were watching out for her. As a mom, that is my worst fear, that something would happen to my child and nobody would be there to help." Roberson's daughter didn't feel threatened by the man who spoke 'fairly loudly' and assured the staff at the coffee shop that she was okay. However, she was very thankful that they had offered to help and intervene if she felt unsafe. “It sounded like he was quite animated. I believe this is what alerted the employees. He had also not come in with my daughter, so they knew she probably did not know him,” Roberson explained. She further added that the man quietly left after realizing that she had been communicating with the staff at the coffee shop. "I am incredibly grateful to the staff there. I hope that we can all learn from them and be willing to help anyone who seems that they might need help," she said.
Incidents like this give us a lot of hope. One similar story that stood out involved a flight attendant who saved a teenage girl from human trafficking after leaving a secret message for the victim in a cabin bathroom during a flight, reported NY Daily News. Shelia Fedrick, a flight attendant with Alaska Airlines noticed that the girl had a disheveled look with greasy blonde hair and she was alongside a well-dressed older man who boarded with her in Seattle. "(The girl) looked like she had been through pure hell," said Fedrick, recalling the incident from 2011. The girl was believed to be 14 or 15 years old. When the flight attendant tried to engage with the girl, the man appeared defensive. She decided to try another method. "I left a note in one of the bathrooms," Fedrick recalled. "She wrote back on the note and said, 'I need help.'" As soon as she read the note, she alerted the pilot who immediately passed on the message to the cops. As soon as the plane touched down, the cops were waiting for the man in the terminal and she was rescued.