Missing Teen Rescued After Seeking Help With Hand Signal Learned From TikTok

Considering how many annoying and destructive trends have originated on TikTok, it's easy for the platform to get a bad rap.

But of course, any platform that features millions of users is going to have a complicated reputation and there is certainly some good there to go along with the bad.

Part of that has to do with the community, who have sometimes proven themselves to be sharp-eyed and caring enough to save actual lives. But it's also true that the same algorithm that spreads harmful trends quickly can also make millions of people aware of simple tricks that can be similarly important.

And thanks to one of those tricks and the actions of a dedicated good Samaritan, one North Carolina teen is now safe at home.

On the morning of November 3, the parents of an unidentified 16-year-old girl from Asheville, North Carolina reported her missing.

And as the Laurel County Sheriff's Office wrote on Facebook, she had come into contact with 61-year-old James Herbert Brick, who allegedly abducted her and transported her through Tennessee and Kentucky before visiting some relatives in Ohio.

However, this visit was cut short after Brick's relatives apparently realized the teen was underage and reported missing.

With that, he left Ohio and travelled south while the girl started trying to alert other drivers to her situation so they'd call 911.

And she did so with the hand signal we can see in this TikTok, which has circulated around the platform over the past year.

Although Good Morning America reported that this signal was originally intended to alert others of domestic violence, it has since applied to any unsafe situation a person may find themselves in.

As we can see, it involves tucking your thumb into your displayed palm and closing your other fingers over the thumb.

Fortunately for her, someone driving behind Brick's car noticed this hand gesture and called 911 while following the vehicle.

As a representative from the Sheriff's Office wrote, "The complainant advised 911 that the female appeared to be in distress."

Thanks to the updates the driver kept providing, police were able to ambush the suspect in London, Kentucky.

In the words of the representative, "Our guys were waiting at the top of the ramp. We had one cruiser getting behind the vehicle. We had another cruiser get in front of the vehicle we boxed it in."

The teen has since made it home and Brick has been charged with unlawful imprisonment.

h/t: Good Morning America, Facebook | Laurel County Sheriff's Office