Last week, family members woke up to find Alexis Waller gone.
"You always just think the worst," said Brent Waller, Alexis' father, "[I] just thought some guy had come and scooped her up."
But Alexis had not been kidnapped. Instead, she had snuck out in the middle of the night, walked to a Bryant gas station, and hitched a ride from a stranger to Little Rock. Using some of the $10,000 she'd stolen from her grandmother's sock drawer, Alexis called a taxi.
"[The cab driver] didn't really ask anything, he just asked me where I needed to go," said Alexis.
Alexis says she wanted to go see a boy she met on vacation two years ago and had been communicating with ever since.
"I said I need to go to Jacksonville, Florida," said Alexis, "He's like, 'do you have money' and I'm like, 'yes.'"
When Bryant police got a frantic call from Alexis' parents, they dropped everything and began a search. After obtaining cell phone records, police traced Alexis' call to the cab company. Soon they were on the phone with the driver who told them Alexis was just outside Atlanta, Georgia.
"I'm actually glad I got found. I knew I made a mistake after a while and I didn't have a phone," said Alexis.
Her parents drove nine hours through the night to pick her up. When they arrived in Georgia and finally laid eyes on her, they were angry, but relieved.
"You have the rest of your life to punish her. You just want to hug her and just love her because you got her back and that's what's important," said Brent Waller.
Little Rock police say the cab driver didn't break any laws because it appears he didn't have any ill intentions. The cab company declined to comment to KARK.
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.
(KARK, Little Rock)
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