TikTok Saves Kidnapped Girl, What Happened?

The TikTok Help Hand Gesture

TikTok trends come and go fairly quickly. Dances, ratings, costumes, and pranks all seem to appear and disappear at lightning speed. One trend, however, is hopefully here to stay.

A gesture called the “signal for help” was created in April of last year by the Canadian Women’s Foundation. It was made to help combat potential reports of abuse during the pandemic. If someone was in danger, they could flash the hand signal and let someone know they’re in trouble.

The gesture got picked up on TikTok and videos explaining its significance and tutorials on how to use it were viewed millions of times. You can see how to make the signal below.

Recently, a 16-year-old girl used the hand gesture to escape a kidnapping. Authorities in Kentucky say a missing North Carolina girl used the gesture in the passenger seat of a car through the window.

Someone saw the gesture and recognized it from TikTok and called 911. Despite not being familiar with the gesture themselves, Sheriff’s deputies pulled over the car and realized the girl had been reported missing by her parents two days earlier.

Deputies arrested James Herbert Brick, 61, and charged him with unlawful imprisonment. He also faces a child pornography charge.

The girl said she wasn’t related to Brick and that she went with him to Ohio where he had family, but they left when the family found out she was a minor.

Laurel County Sheriff’s Office public affairs officer Gilbert Acciardo told the New York Times that the girl also made the gesture to deputies.

“I don’t think any of us realized what that was,” he said. “But we certainly do now.”

Acciardo said authorities think Brick didn’t know she was doing the gesture and thought she was simply waving at other cars. He said it’s a great thing for victims to know in a dangerous situation.

“This is probably the best thing I’ve seen come along in the 48 years I’ve been a patrol officer,” he said.

Would you have recognized the hand gesture from TikTok? Tell us in the comments!