As parents, we do everything in our power to protect the safety and well-being of our children. We make sure their food is in bite-size pieces when they’re toddlers so they don’t choke. We slather them with sunscreen when the summer sun blazes so they won’t burn. We worry about whether or not they’re getting enough sleep, eating enough vegetables, and making good choices when we’re not around.
But sometimes, no matter what we do, no matter how careful we are, danger comes calling.
Or, in the case of one family, it climbs into the driver’s seat and three sisters narrowly escape being abducted—and possibly becoming victims of human trafficking.
Texas mother Amber Ayers shared a post on Facebook about her husband and three daughters stopping for gas in Louisana en route to a cheer competition in Florida. Ayers says her husband and youngest daughter were walking back toward their rental car when a man got into the driver’s seat and attempted to drive off with her two older girls in the backseat, who had already gone back to the car.
Ayers says her husband had engaged the parking break on the rental car—something she says he never normally does—and it caused the would-be abductor to struggle to get the car moving.
The carjacker then jumped into a getaway car nearby and headed for the couple’s youngest daughter, Shelby, running her over. Miraculously, the tires of the stolen U-Haul truck missed the young girl, but she sustained broken bones and deep lacerations to her head.
Ayers recounts the harrowing few moments in her post:
While stopped at a populated and well-lit Loves gas station, the older girls 13 and 17 were in the rental car when one of the criminals believed to be a part of a sex trafficking ring got into the car with my girls. My husband immediately noticed and went to save them which is when the “get-a-way” truck first tried to hit him, but then saw Shelby and stopped, then went directly toward her head on! By the grace of god, after being hit she rolled under the truck completely missing the tires. The truck then drove off and the guy that had entered the car in the meantime took off on foot.
Ayers says Shelby was airlifted to a nearby hospital to be treated for her severe head wound, and while her sisters were not physically harmed, the incident has shaken the entire family.
“We are healing and taking it day by day,” Ayers told Her View From Home.
She also told us how certain she is angels were there protecting her young family that night. “At first, the only thing I could think about was how the child locks were a mistake [because they prevented the girls from escaping the backseat]. But the child locks, random use of the parking brake, and Shelby rolling out between the two tires were all God counteracting that evil that night,” she said.
Ayers posted an update on Facebook this weekend, saying the suspects in the incident were caught and charged with aggravated attempted kidnapping and aggravated second degree attempted murder. Police said the carjackers’ motives remain unclear, but it’s possible trafficking could be involved.
In the weeks since the incident in early May, Ayers says her two older daughters are working through the trauma:
As for the healing process, our oldest two are continuing to heal emotionally in their own ways every day. I couldn’t be prouder of their courage and willingness to step up during and after the incident. They have had to take active roles in the investigation while also overcoming things like getting gas and being near white pickup trucks. They have put their focus on getting back to normal and putting this behind them. I am sure that some part of them will always be accompanied by some level of fear and looking over their shoulders, but they have both come very far in their healing and have made enormous strides to putting this behind them.
Youngest sister Shelby is healing too and was recently cleared to go back to the sport she loves—cheerleading:
It was rather difficult to keep her from doing cheer while she was physically healing. She definitely has her good and bad days, and still gets upset and angry at them occasionally as she has to work to get all of her skills back, Shelby writes. I can honestly say that God has answered all of our prayers, and I know my family has amazing guardian angels watching over us.
Ayers says she hopes sharing her family’s story will remind other families to be hyper-alert and aware of their surroundings at all times. “We always are careful, but it didn’t matter that one time it happened,” she said. “It definitely makes you think about the little stuff.”