A child being kidnapped is every parent's worst nightmare, so one can never be too safe when thinking of ways to avoid danger in public areas. For instance, a couple in Arizona taught their child one simple trick that ended up making the difference when a stranger tried to get her into his van.
The incident took place in San Tan Valley on Wednesday, November 7. The young girl, whose name was not released to the press, was walking home with a friend when an unknown man pulled up in a white van, saying he had terrible news about her brother.
10-year-old describes how she stopped a would-be kidnapper youtu.be
Brenda James, the girl's mother, told reporters at a press conference:
"He told her that her brother had been in a serious accident and that she needed to come with him."
But then, instead of complying and getting into his vehicle, the young girl did as she had been taught by her parents: she asked him for the secret code word that meant he was safe. According to Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb:
"The guy covered his face, panicked, and took off."
A very good idea for those with children. https://t.co/4cf5wVr8Gk— West Warwick PD (@West Warwick PD) 1542149328.0
The police are searching for "a white man, possibly in his 40s with a short beard," based on what little the girl could see of the man's face (he was covering it during most of their interaction). Other children had witnessed his white SUV circling the park throughout the day.
Do you have a family code word? We have one, now. Thanks to this young girl’s brave actions. https://t.co/ky8E8CAtxj— Paula Faris (@Paula Faris) 1542029169.0
People on social media were super impressed by the James's safety technique and quick thinking:
@HuffPost Smart and brave girl. And well done, mom, teaching her how to respond. I love a happy ending. 👏🏻💕— Marlee Margulies 🌊 #VoteDem (@Marlee Margulies 🌊 #VoteDem) 1541981463.0
@HuffPost We have always had a code word for this reason! Well done! #e5 #codeword #familyfirst— rose (@rose) 1542026915.0
@HuffPost Good Girl! 👍😊— Lynn (@Lynn ) 1541985890.0
@ABC Every parent should use code words for their children. Great idea.— LRFalstad (@LRFalstad) 1542157975.0
@HuffPost That's what I'm talkin' 'bout! Way to go, little one! Awesome job, mom and dad!— Twin & her Hubby! (@Twin & her Hubby!) 1541981216.0
@ABC I thought all parents did this. I had a code word, my kid's had a code word. Glad she is safe.— YouCan'tFixStupid2 (@YouCan'tFixStupid2) 1542153680.0
@HuffPost Always had one for my daughters. They are well into their late 20s early 30s now.— Maggie (@Maggie) 1541981348.0
Sheriff Lamb hopes other parents learn from the James's situation and teach their children similar code words:
"Kudos to the parents of this child for having a code word and talking about to their children about stranger danger. We hope by putting this out, it will encourage parents to have that conversation and create a plan with their children, so they know what to do if they are in that situation."
@people I had one growing up. Occasionally my mom still asks if I remember it. I’m 39! 😂 But I DO!— Jenny Bell Cupp (@Jenny Bell Cupp) 1542161662.0
@people This is a great idea. My parents did this with me in the 80s. ALL children should have a code word!!!!— Holly Ohara (@Holly Ohara) 1542147219.0
James's daughter is now safe, thanks to their safety trick.
After taking a day off of school to recuperate from the stressful situation, she's back to normal and her parents couldn't be happier:
"I never thought it would be used, but I'm proud of her for remembering that and knowing to use that. This one time, it saved my daughter's life."
@people Love this, love her, SMART PARENTS 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽, glad she’s ok!— Arianna (@Arianna) 1542146522.0