With all the dangers for our kids on social media, it’s pretty darn refreshing to hear of the good that can come from it. I don’t know about you, but these days I often need a reminder that many things (and people) are a mixed bag! It helps me not to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. So when I heard earlier this week that TikTok helped save a life, I was genuinely intrigued—and thrilled.

A harrowing scene unfolded in Kentucky last week when a 16-year-old girl, desperate to escape the 61-year-old man holding her captive, began flashing this signal for help from the passenger window of his car.

The hand signal, which is much more subtle than pounding a window or waving frantically, was created last year by the Women’s Funding Network. Their TikTok video demonstrating the simply-named “Signal for Help” went viral, and thankfully, this young girl saw it. 

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As her captor drove her through Kentucky, a passing motorist saw her using the hand signal and correctly interpreted it as a signal for help.

He called 911 and followed the car, telling authorities which mile markers they were passing so they could set up a forced exit and pull the suspected car over.

It all worked beautifully, and police arrested the driver. Police freed the girl, whose parents reported her missing 48 hours earlier. They charged her captor, James Herbert Brick, with two felonies: unlawful imprisonment and possession of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor. Let’s all cross our fingers that he remains in prison for the rest of his life. 

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If anything positive comes out of this girl’s ordeal, it is certainly that more people will learn of the “Signal for Help.” I myself had not heard of it before this story, and I will certainly be telling my children about it. I hope you all will tell your kids about this simple way to signal for help in any situation. We’ve already seen how it—and the power of social media—can save a life.

Jenny Rapson

Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.