SPOKANE, Wash. - Two little girls say they feel lucky to be home with their family Wednesday night after the Spokane County Sheriff's Office says a man tried to lure them from a Spokane Valley Walmart on New Year's Day.
For Pamela Larson and her granddaughters, it was supposed to be a fun trip to Walmart.
“I had given each of the girls $10, just a little extra Christmas gift and they wanted to look for a toy," said Larson.
That took a frightening turn.
“Tatum came running up to me and said, 'Grandma, we have to leave the store and we have to leave now,'” Larson said.
Tatum is her 10-year old granddaughter who was shopping with her cousin just one aisle over when a man approached her.
"He was right there and he was like 'come here, come here, come here, I need to show you something," explained Tatum.
She says she immediately ran to a nearby Walmart employee despite being scared because it's what her parents taught her to do.
“They just teach me, don't talk to strangers, and that if they try to get you to come with them you come to me or to an adult,” Tatum said.
Deputy Mark Gregory with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office says these are the conversations parents should have with their kids often.
“Talk to your kids about different situations and talk to them about don't ever go with somebody unless we, your parents know who you are going with,” Deputy Gregory said.
He says they believe they know who the man is because of witnesses like Tatum's uncle, Nate Lloyd, who was also there.
"When i found out, I wanted to hurt him," said Lloyd.
Despite feeling angry, he acted quickly, finding the man and grabbing a photo that has since been shared over three thousand times on Facebook.
“I'm really glad those two girls came home with me, safe,” added Lloyd.
The family says they are grateful it happened as they hope it will inspire other parents to talk with their kids about stranger danger.
"By coming out and saying something, maybe we are going to save another child," said Larson.
For Tatum, she's just happy to be playing with her cousins.
"Sometimes I just stop and think, what would have happened if I did go with him," said Tatum.
The Spokane County Sheriff's Office says it is important to have talks often with your children about strangers. They recommend visiting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website for tips of how to get the conversation started.
In addition to having conversations, using role play to practice different scenarios can also help children learn how to handle different situations.