An Arizona community has been on high alert after a kidnapping attempt on a little girl. Now, the Pinela County Sheriff’s Department is honoring the 11-year-old’s quick thinking as she used a clever code word technique in order to save her own life.

The young girl and her friend were making their way home when suddenly a man inside of a white SUV stopped alongside them. He said to the girl that her brothers were hurt, and had to get inside of the vehicle with him. Thinking smart and fast, she asked him for the code word.

In an interview with Good Morning America, she said at that point his face froze and he drove off. The girl, scared, called her mom to tell her what happened.

“I was terrified. I was terrified that my brother was in an actual accident, that he could be hurt.

I was scared because if I had popped in, I don’t know what he would have done to me.”

Police learned that other children had seen a white vehicle driving around the neighborhood frequently, circling the park. They are asking people to come forward with more information.

The family of the little girl is grateful that she is safe, and shared they only implemented the code word system a few months ago. How it works is a family comes up with a code word to use to communicate danger or safety, whether someone is out or on the phone.

After it’s used once, it should be changed to prevent anyone (strangers or others outside the circle) from figuring it out. It’s used often when teaching kids about stranger danger.

Click below to hear from the little girl’s mother and for a description of the suspect. Thank goodness she is safe!

Do you have a code word for your family? Are you going to implement a similar system after learning this story?