An 11-year-old girl in Arkansas managed to get about 500 miles from home in pretty easy fashion: She hailed a taxi and asked to go to Florida. Alexis Waller is back home safely now, reports KARK-TV. Authorities say she sneaked out of her home in Bryant in the middle of the night on Dec. 5 after grabbing $10,000 in cash from her grandmother's sock drawer. She then hitchhiked a ride to Little Rock about 20 miles away, hailed the cab, and told the driver to take her to Jacksonville. "He's like, 'Do you have money' and I'm like, 'Yes,'" she tells the station. People reports she paid him $1,300 upfront, with another $1,200 to come once they arrived at her destination 830 miles away. The cab company says Alexis looked older than her years—more like 17 or 18—thanks to makeup, reports First Coast News.
She had left her grandmother a note saying "she had run away to Montana," says Sergeant Todd Crowson. But police traced her call to the cab company and got in touch with the driver, who reported being near Atlanta. Alexis' journey ended there, and her relieved parents drove nine hours to pick her up. "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," says dad Brent Waller. The girl says she was hoping to see a 16-year-old boy she had met on vacation two years ago and had stayed in touch with online; police also called the teen, who said he was unaware of her plans. "I'm actually glad I got found," Alexis says now. "I knew I made a mistake after a while and I didn't have a phone." The taxi driver isn't facing any charges or disciplinary action at work. (Another young runaway managed to live in Walmart for two days.)