After a clip of his rant was uploaded onto YouTube this week, however, he's being called "the bravest man in Saudi Arabia."
"I'm here to say we need democracy, we need freedom," Khaled al-Johani said to the surprised BBC crew, which wasn't expecting him and didn't find his name on the list of activists from Riyadh.
"We need to speak freely. We will reach out, the government doesn't own us. I was afraid to speak, but no more. We don't have dignity, we don't have justice! I have an autistic child, and they didn't provide me with any support," he said.
Khaled al-Johani said on camera that he knew he'd be arrested -- and he was correct. After he returned to the home he shares with his wife and four young children, Saudi police arrived and arrested him in front of his family, Ali al-Johani said. He hasn't been heard from or seen since.
"His wife and children are heartbroken," Ali al-Johani said. "They took him away in front of his kids, and they took his laptop and phone. Khaled has a very special connection to Abdul Aziz, his little boy who is autistic. He spends so much time with him because he wants Abdul to have a good life, but there isn't much help for autistic kids here."
Ali al-Johani said his brother is believed to be imprisoned at Alysha prison in Riyadh, headquarters of the Saudi secret police. His family has not been allowed to see him or contact him despite repeated requests to officials.
"We don't know if he is alive or dead," Ali al-Johani said.
But Khaled al-Johani went from anonymous nobody to folk hero in the blink of an eye this past week, beginning when the BBC broadcast a documentary on Saudi Arabia in Arabic called "Saudi Arabia: The People Want..." that contained his epic rant. On April 7, a six-minute video called "Where Is Khaled?" was uploaded on YouTube with English subtitles.
The teacher has been dubbed "the only brave man in Saudi Arabia" and "the first Saudi hero" in text and email messages and Facebook postings, according to a leading human rights activist in Saudi Arabia.
"There are a lot of people here who feel the same way Khaled does, but they are too afraid to say so in public," Mohamed al-Qahtani, the Riyadh-based director of the 2-year-old Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association, told AOL News today.
"That video is getting very well circulated. Some people think nothing is going to happen here in Saudi, but an eruption can happen at any time. That's what happened with Khaled. He erupted. And that's why everyone's calling him the bravest man in Saudi," al-Qahtani said.
Shaimaa Khalil, the reporter and producer of the BBC documentary, recalled the heavy police presence and lack of protesters on March 11.
"Then all of a sudden Khaled just showed up out of the blue and said he was here for democracy," said Khalil, who said the documentary will eventually be broadcast with English narration and subtitles.
"He just seemed to be a regular guy, but so courageous. We got so many messages after the film aired. They said things like, 'There are millions of us, and he's speaking to us.' "
Ali al-Johani said his brother has always been straightforward with his opinions, but noted he is a very unlikely political prisoner.
"He is not political, and he doesn't want to overthrow the king or anything," said Ali al-Johani. "He just sees all the state corruption and the lack of freedom for citizens. I didn't want him to go that day, but he said it would be worth speaking out in case it changes anything."
"They usually hold them for some time, at least a few months," al-Qahtani said. "They won't release them until they sign a document disavowing what they said. And sometimes they're tortured."
Both al-Qahtani and Ali al-Johani said they risk being arrested for speaking out about Khaled but said it was important enough to take the chance.
"I just want the whole world to know my brother is a wonderful man and a wonderful father, and to stand by him and get him released from prison," Ali al-Johani said.