Our flight from DC to Kuwait ended up being very secure, since we shared the plane with six air marshals on duty. Upon our arrival in Kuwait, we were immediately informed that cell phone usage was absolutely prohibited. We knew they were serious because of all the anti-phone signs and because all the locals immediatly whipped out their iPhones and were not penalized in the slightest… We had about 45 minutes to kill in Kuwait before we re-boarded our plane to head to Bahrain. I was the last of our team to go through the ticket line and, as I began to pass through the doorway to the gate’s tunnel, a man began to follow me. He turned out to be one of the airport workers and he pulled me aside. He was pointing at something. I thought I was getting in trouble (again) for luggage, etc. and I was prepared to calmly assess whatever problem there was. However, he persisted in pointing and finally turned to me and said, “We found something on the plane…” and all I could think about was “Oh no, that can’t be good!” He began describing what he had found and he formed his hands into a rectangle and said that there was something that looked like “that” in it, pointing to my wrist. It finally hit me, he was gesturing about my Red Thread bracelet! We had accidentally left one of our press kit folders in the pouch on the back of one of the seats and, from the sound of it, this worker inspected every single document. He had me follow him and began asking more and more questions about what we were doing with the bracelets and listened with interest as I began to explain. Typically, I would be alarmed at his inquisitions, but I had a feeling that it would be okay, so I was able to tell him a little bit about Nepal and sex trafficking. We reached the end of the tunnel and he gestured to a few other male workers standing there and one immediately nodded and went and retrieved the press kit. It shocked me at how seriously they handled the issue of a forgotten folder. One man had it grasped tightly in his hands and walked up to me with a rather serious expression on his face and asked me to list off the contents of the folder. As I racked my brain listing everything, he began to laugh, joking, and handed it to me. I ended up giving him a bracelet and he wished us well on our endeavors.
I was the last one on the plane and, as I started to take my seat and tell the others what had happened, there was a sudden swarm of flight attendants asking what the deal was with the “red things.” They cleared out to prepare for take-off but one of the ladies returned immediately after the fasten seat belt light turned off and plopped down in the empty seat next to me as I started telling her about the Movement. Right about the time she had to leave, another attendant came up and was curious. He ended up coming back later with another flight attendant, and another two stopped by after. Every time someone would come by and talk to us, our section’s flight attendants would stand around and listen too! One even came back to buy one for her sister-in-law and another guy bought some for his Nepalese roommates. So, during the course of the mere one and a half hour flight, the Red Thread Movement expanded into 3+ new countries!
We are now on our way to India!