When nine-year-old Willie Myrick was snatched from his driveway in Atlanta, the boy could think of only one thing to do: Sing.
Willie relied on faith and song, singing the gospel hymn, "Every Praise," until his abductor — perhaps exasperated, perhaps touched — finally released him unharmed.
First Coast News reports that Thursday evening, community leaders held a meeting in Willie's honor, celebrating his happy ending and telling other parents and children what to do if this happens to them.
In front of a crowded sanctuary at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, the boy recounted the moments in the car, the abductor cursing him and telling him to shut up while he continued in song.
"He opened the door and threw me out," Willie said. "He told me not to tell anyone."
Soon, Grammy Award-winning gospel singer Hezekiah Walker — the man who wrote the song — heard Willie's story, First Coast reported.
"It's just emotional to me because you never know who you're going to touch," Walker told 11Alive's Blayne Alexander.
Upon hearing the story, Walker made the decision to fly from New York City to Atlanta to meet Willie.
"I just wanted to hug him and tell him I love him," Walker said.
Thursday evening, First Coast reports, the singer entered the sanctuary of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church to a standing ovation, grabbing Willie into a tight hug as tears streamed down the boy's face. Walker then led the church, and Willie, in singing "Every Praise," the song that may have saved the boy's life.
The man who abducted Willie is still on the loose. Police have released a sketch and are asking anyone with any information to call CrimeStoppers at 404-577-TIPS.