While shopping at a mom-to-mom sale last weekend, a mom picked up a package of Disney Fairies underwear for her daughter, but what she found inside that package terrified her. Inside the package was a rolled-up handwritten note, which appeared like a desperate plea for help.
According to the Independent Journal News on September 28, Nicole Perez was just getting her daughter some new underwear and now she was terrified that a woman named May Ann was in dire need of help. The woman named May Ann wrote the note and added in her phone number. The note asked “Help me! Plz.” She identified herself as May Ann from “Philippines,” which was spelled “Phillipines.”
This note was now in Perez’s hands and it made her sick to think that someone was in trouble no matter where in the world she was, according to CBS News Detroit. The underwear was packaged in a factory that was owned by an American manufacturing company, Handcraft, but located in the Philippines.
She sent an email to the factory explaining that she had found this note rolled up in package of underwear and passed along what it said. They sent back an apology and a promise to send her a new package of underwear, but the underwear was the furthest thing from this mom’s mind.
That desperate plea for help was all that Perez could focus on and she didn’t let it drop there. The telephone number supplied on the note was not in service, but Rebecca Tungol, who is the president of the Philippine American Cultural Center in Michigan, said that most people in the Philippines use pre-paid cell phones, which are untraceable.
The package of underwear was second-hand from the mom-to-mom shopping sale. This is a sale where moms come with the clothes their kids have outgrown and sell them. They also come there to shop for clothes that other moms are selling. While the several pairs of underwear were in the original package and still basically brand new, they were a couple of years old.
Based on the photos that Perez sent to the company in the Philippines, the underwear was packaged a couple of years ago. Perez then sent the package to the Handcraft headquarters so they could trace the information from the package, such as the tracking number and the exact date it was packaged. This was done to help officials gauge whether this was a serious plea for help or just a hoax.
May Ann still remains a mystery and Perez says that this experience has made her much more aware of where the items are made before she makes a purchase.
“You’re wondering if this is forced labor, if they’re just working long hours, they’re putting these underwear together and clearly someone is reaching out for help and so you think about your own kids and you hope that this isn’t the case,” Nicole says.