BRYANT, Arkansas (CNN) – An 11-year-old girl from central Arkansas hopped in a cab and made it half way to Florida before police tracked her down.
Now the family is asking why the driver took more than $1,000 in cash and didn’t ask any questions.
When family members woke to find 11-year-old Alexis Waller gone, there were terrified.
“You always just, you know, think the worst,” Brent Waller, father said. “Just thought some guy had come and scooped her up.”
Alexis swiped $10,000 cash from her grandmother’s sock drawer. In the middle of the night, she snuck out, walked to a Bryant gas station and hitched a ride from a stranger to Little Rock, Ark.
From there she called a taxi.
“He didn’t really ask anything, he just asked me where I needed to go,” Alexis said of the cab driver.
She wanted to go see a boy she met on vacation and kept in touch with over the last two years.
“I said I need to go to Jacksonville, Fla.,” she said. “He’s like, ‘Do you have money?’ and I’m like, ‘yes.’”
When Bryant police got a frantic call from the parents, they dropped everything and began a search.
After obtaining cell phone records, police discovered Alexis’ call to the cab company. Soon they were on the phone with the driver who told them they were just outside Atlanta.
“I’m actually glad I got found ’cause I knew I made a mistake after a while, and I didn’t have a phone,” Alexis said.
Her parents drove nine hours through the night to pick her up — when they finally laid eyes on her they were angry but also relieved.
“At the same time you have the rest of your life to punish her, and you just want to hug her and just love her because you got her back and that’s what’s important,” Brent Waller said.
The family credits the Bryant Police Department for its work tracking Alexis down.
They got the report around eight in the morning and had her cab surrounded by Georgia State Police before noon.
Little Rock police say the cab driver didn’t break any laws because he doesn’t appear to have had any ill intentions.
The Waller family is promising to push for law changes to force cab drivers to ask for identification — especially if they’re going to transport someone who may be a minor across state lines.