Keep your eyes open, head up from your cell phone, and aware of your surroundings at all times - that's a lesson I think East Texas parents will want to pass on to their children after seeing what happened - and worse...almost happened - to an 11-year-old girl in Florida.

The attempted kidnapping - caught on video.

On Tuesday morning in Pensacola, Florida, the girl could be seen waiting for her school bus as we can imagine she does every weekday. But yesterday (May 18) was different. According to the Escambia County Sheriff's Office, just after 7 a.m. a white Dodge Journey can be seen turning on the roadway where the girl was sitting. A minute or so later, the SUV pulls up to the stop sign across from the child, and is put in park.

What happens next happens fast.

A man armed with a knife bolts from the SUV toward the girl, who immediately runs in the opposite direction as he approaches her. Although the man does grab her, she never stopped fighting, kicking, and squirming away from him. He eventually drops her and runs back to his vehicle and drives off.

Check out the footage here captured by a nearby security camera:

He thought he got away.

The kidnapper, identified as 30-year-old Jared Stanga aggravated assault, attempted kidnapping and battery for the attack. When officers approached him at his home, they say he still had on the clothes matching the suspect's description in the video. He did, however, paint the bumper of that white Dodge Journey black - possibly in a way to avoid his vehicle matching any description the child could give.

Credit: Escambia Co. Sheriff's Office
Credit: Escambia Co. Sheriff's Office

He spoke to her before.

The hardest part for me writing this, is that the child told the Escambia County Sheriff's Office that Stanga had approached her and spoke to her weeks before at her bus stop. This man WATCHED HER.

Parents - we have to teach our children to always keep their heads on a swivel. East Texas is a community, but there are some sickos out there. We must teach our children to not keep their heads buried in cell phones - especially out somewhere alone.

I'm glad this child is safe and with her family today. However, there are dozens of children missing right now all across the state of Texas. We have to keep monsters like this off of the streets.

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