These girls thwarted a would-be kidnapper.

You never know what you might do in an emergency situation until you’re actually in an emergency situation. At that point, instinct takes over, and you hope that you’ll do the things you were taught.

Luckily, that’s exactly what four girls did when they were faced with a potential kidnapper one summer night in Michigan.

A Scary Confrontation

mugshot of a man

One Friday night, four girls were leaving a Speedway gas station. The youngest was in Grade 6, the oldest was in Grade 8. As they walked away, they noticed a strange man following them. So they crossed the street and went into a well-lit area, but he just kept coming.

Then the girls’ worst fear came true when the man, a 22-year-old named Bruce Hipkins, allegedly grabbed the youngest girl, Allison Eickhoff, and said she was coming with him.

The 11-year-old was scared, but she knew she had to fight back. Thankfully, the other four girls, including her older sister Lauren, decided to fight too. They hit, kicked, and threw whatever they had at him, including a cup of coffee.

“My sister’s friend just kept hitting, kicking, and scratching him and I just kept hitting him too,” Eickhoff told WNEM-TV, as per CBS News.

A Narrow Escape

The girls kept fighting until Hipkins reportedly let go of the 11-year-old. But when he tried to grab another one of the girls by her hair, they kept coming at him. Eventually, he fled on foot, and the girls ran down the road to an inn. There, they used the phone to dial 9-1-1.

“They did exactly what they should’ve done in that situation,” Police Chief Jason Oliver told BuzzFeed News. “A lot of girls would’ve run, but they decided to fight and stay together. They did an amazing job.”

“My dad taught me a few moves,” Allison added. “He taught me if anybody tries to get you, just aim for the neck and start punching, kicking, screaming, everything you can do to just get them away.”

The girl added that she was doing okay, although she was scared to go outside by herself. Fortunately, though, no one was hurt, and Hipkins was arrested on several charges. Later he was convicted for unlawful imprisonment and criminal sexual conduct. These days he lives in Michigan but is listed on the state’s Sex Offender Registry.

Being Prepared

There’s a Stephen King quote that goes, “There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.” We all hope that we are never in a situation like these girls experienced, but we also never know when we will need to act. That is why it’s important to prepare ourselves and those we love, just in case.

Never be afraid to talk to kids about stranger danger or better yet, strange behavior. Remind them to never go anywhere with someone they don’t know, even if that person seems friendly. Let them know that well-meaning strangers don’t ask kids for help or randomly give them things without their parent’s permission, even if they happen to know names or personal information.

And in the case that a child ever is in a potential kidnapping situation, teach them the importance of fighting back. Teach them to kick, scream, slam, throw things, and call attention to the situation.

Hopefully, they’ll never have to use those skills, but at least they’ll be prepared for that scary, worst-case scenario.