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Photo: Rasit Aydogan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A girl reported missing from North Carolina was rescued in Kentucky after she signaled for help with a hand gesture made popular on TikTok, law enforcement officials said.

Driving the news: The girl was reported missing by her parents last week, according to the Laurel County Sheriff's Office in Kentucky. A driver called the police after seeing a girl using a signal, popularized by TikTok, to indicate she needed help.

  • The hand gesture was created by the Canadian Women's Foundation to help an individual "silently show they need help and want someone to check in with them in a safe way."
  • The signal involves distressed people tucking their thumb into their palm before closing their fingers over it.
  • Following up on the tip, the Laurel County Sheriff's Office pulled over the driver of the car and arrested him Thursday. He was charged with unlawful imprisonment.

What they're saying: "This is probably the best thing I've seen come along in the 48 years I've been a patrol officer," Gilbert Acciardo, public affairs officer for the Laurel County Sheriff's Office, told the New York Times.

  • "It is a relief to hear that somebody was able to use the signal in a very dangerous situation," said Andrea Gunraj, the Canadian Women's Foundation's vice president of public engagement, per the Times.

Editor's note: This was updated to include a description of the hand signal.

Go deeper

Polk County Sheriff's Office employees to get vaxxed or test weekly

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Polk County Sheriff's Office employees will participate in a program that mandates they show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or be tested weekly, department spokesperson Lt. Ryan Evans told Axios Friday.

Driving the news: Polk County's administrator John Norris warned Sheriff Kevin Schneider last week that his department could face budgetary consequences for not following the county's vaccine-or-test mandate that began Sept. 30, the Des Moines Register reports.

  • Schneider issued a statement Friday calling the warning "irresponsible rhetoric and behavior" and an attempt "to hold the public safety budget hostage."

Americans are super-sizing their holiday travel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Americans are rushing back into holiday travel, and many are taking even longer trips now than they did before the pandemic began.

The big picture: After skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings last year, many people are eager to maximize this year's celebrations with friends and family. And flexible remote working arrangements make that easier than ever.

Updated 16 hours ago - Sports

The potential GOAT of chess faces intriguing challenger

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The World Chess Championship between Norway's Magnus Carlsen and Russia's Ian Nepomniachtchi began on Friday, 1,094 days after Carlsen won his fourth consecutive title.

Why it matters: During the long, COVID-fueled layoff, chess entered a new era, and with the championship finally here, the age-old game is ready for its close-up.