Menlo, Iowa is a town that prides itself in being kind, friendly, and helpful. The 400-strong town takes as its motto: “A Town of Few – And Friend of Many.” It is a community where everyone knows everyone, and someone is always willing to stop and give you a helping hand.
So when one man stopped a little 9-year-old girl to ask for directions at a gas station, she was perfectly willing to help.
The man was in a white SUV, and wearing a Green Bay Packers hat. She stepped over to give him directions, but then he reached for her shoulder, grabbing at her.
She instantly knew he was lying and that she had to get away. Luckily, the girl was able to fight back—and then she ran for it. She sprinted out of the fuel stop and down the road, wasting no time to look back.
The man pulled on a ski mask and pursued her. One neighbor saw from his property a little girl hightailing it down the road, and then a white van around the corner by the railroad tracks.
She ran three blocks until she saw Celia and Lyle Reynolds at their home and crashed into the elderly couple.
“Her little heart, I was holding her and her little heart was just beating a hundred times a minute. She was scared to death,” said Celia.
The man made a quick getaway, but thankfully the little girl was able to give a good description of what the abductor was like.
Word quickly spread, and the incident put the little town on edge.
“This is our little town of Menlo, and things like that aren’t supposed to happen here!” said Celia, heartbroken.
“You know there’s less than 400 people in our town. We saw that vehicle, it came right down our road, so it’s scary to know this vehicle was out in our town basically hunting for little kids,” resident Mary Little-Van Eaton told WHOTV.
The mayor of Menlo is now looking to install security cameras to help residents feel safe.
Officials believe the man has since left town, and the community is praising the little girl for her quick thinking and bravery, and everyone is thankful she is safe.