A mother from New Zealand has revealed how she used a TikTok hack to help find her missing son.
The 2-year-old wandered off while they were shopping in a Kmart in the NSW Hunter Region, the mother said. She described it as the "scariest ten minutes of my life."
She attributed the recovery of her son to this hack she found from a fellow mom who posted it on TikTok. The video was created by American mom Jess Cakmakli under the social media tag @Jesmartini back in November of last year.
@jesmartini PSA that I feel can save kids and I've used- if your child goes missing in public ##momsoftiktok ##PSA ##nojudgement ##fyp ##4up ##besafe ##parentsoftiktok
♬ original sound - Jess martini
After the mom's 2-year-old son, Nathan, went missing in the retailer, her friend immediately ran to the front door and alerted the staff to not let a boy of his description leave the store, even if he was with an adult.
"Another friend searched the area he was last seen," the mom wrote on Facebook, according to the New Zealand Herald. She remembered TikTok's sage advice and began making her way through the Kmart, calling out the child's description.
"You want to start loudly looking for them," Cakmakli said in the November footage. "Do not start silently looking for them."
According to the post, the mother began to shout: "I'm missing a little boy, he's wearing a yellow shirt and has brown hair. He's 2-years-old and his name is Nathan." Immediately, she began to notice other shoppers reacting to her.
This way, other shoppers are able to begin looking for the child, instead of you searching alone. "I had every adult around me on alert. They all threw aside what they were looking at and started searching too," she explained.
Jess then explained how "Best case scenario, someone finds your child and they return them to you, worst case scenario, someone was walking away with your child they're more likely to let them go because they don't want that kind of commotion."
"You may feel that you look stupid doing it and maybe you do, but it is so much better to look stupid than to be sorry," Jess added.
The New Zealand mother kept repeating herself and didn't allow herself to "break down" even though she was terrified. But before long, the mom heard a stranger call out, "he's here."
"I turned back the way I came and there he was. A man had walked past him after hearing me calling out," she wrote. She said "a thousand thank you's to the man." The mom explained how if she hadn't called out her sons description, the shopper who found him wouldn't have had a clue she was looking for him.
"Nate would have walked past him and he wouldn't have blinked."
She posted the story on Facebook and urged all parents to learn this hack in order to keep their children safe when out in public areas.
"So to all parents out there, if your child goes missing, do not search in silence or just call out their name. Shout out loud and clear. Say that they're missing, give a description and repeat, repeat, repeat!"
Cakmakli said the response to her TikTok video has been overwhelming, and that four mothers have privately messaged her sharing how they used the tip to find their children. The comments under her video are filled with similar stories.
Cakmakli added she's glad her advice is reaching a wide audience. "It makes me feel really grateful that so many people got this information," she said. "It legitimately helped them."