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North Florida attempted kidnapping leads to discussions of stranger danger

Martial arts expert prepares children for worst-case scenarios
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Posted at 10:53 PM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-22 00:34:26-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Video of a Florida girl escaping an abduction has reignited the discussion about stranger danger in families all over the country.

Alyssa Bonal, 11, was waiting at her bus stop when a man ran toward her and grabbed her. She broke free and was able to escape.

WPTV spoke to South Florida parents about this frightening moment and what they teach their children in order to keep them safe.

Grandmother Anita Dean said she always makes sure to have an adult near her 2-year-old grandson. She said kicking, scratching, screaming and running are what she hopes all children would do if they are ever in a threatening situation.

"Just letting them know to not talk to strangers, don't take candy from anyone and if they see anyone approaching, bolt," Jaclyn Brown, a mother of a 4-year-old boy, said.

Monica Mabry has four children.

“We want them to be alive, you know, to teach them that they at least can yell, scream and also describe the person, so if they are questioned, was it a man or a woman? You know, some detailed features," she said.

RELATED: Man arrested after attempted abduction of 11-year-old girl at Florida bus stop

Tom Floyd is the owner of Systema Floyd Martial Arts in West Palm Beach.

WPTV was the first to show him the video from the Pensacola area. He said it appears Alyssa did everything right.

"God was looking out for someone that day," Floyd said. "That girl is amazing. She's a hero."

Parents often look to martial arts as a way to build confidence and discipline in their children.

"Parents come in asking for self-defense techniques for their children. We did survival camps for kids in the summer," Floyd said. "Older kids, 12-16 years old, those parents really wanted their kid to know worst-case scenarios like what to do if their hands are tied up and how to get out of a car."


Floyd's biggest lesson is about avoidance.

"Don't get grabbed," he said. "We set up clothes stand and hide under a chair, moving around to make it harder for them to get to kids. We make a game out of it and make fun."

If nothing else, he urges parents to teach their children to use their voice.

"They need to know it's OK to scream and yell at an adult, and be specific," he explained. "'You're not my mom. You're not my dad.' Then that draws everyone's attention about what's going on over there."

Parents know what's right for their children, but given this close call, it's a good time to have another conversation.

"The more they know, the greater their chance of surviving," Floyd said.

Alyssa smeared some of the blue slime she was playing with Tuesday while waiting at her bus stop on the man who attacked her.

She told NBC News she knew that might be better evidence if the police found him. She said her fast-thinking was inspired by watching "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" with her mom.

If you would like more information on Tom Floyd and Systema Floyd Martial Arts, click here.