By Steve Large

PINOLE (CBS13) – A family has much to be thankful for after they were reunited Thursday night, thanks to an alert gas station manager.

A Fairfield woman and her two grandchildren who had been reported missing five days were found safe.

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The gas station manager at a Shell in Pinole is being called after a hero after she spotted the three and called the police. It was the hair Barbie Liden spotted on the woman who wanted to use her restroom that caught her attention.

“She has really short hair, and for some reason…that kind of stood out to me…I don’t know, I felt like it was her,” said Liden, who says she went online to compare the woman and the picture of the missing woman.

Young and her grandchildren were parked at the water and air area of the Pinole Shell when they were spotted.

It turns out her instincts were correct. The woman was missing 75-year-old Sandra Young and the child she took with her to the bathroom was one of her grandchildren. The other was in Young’s parked car.

“It looked like they’d been in the car for a minute, like, on a long road trip or something…like they’d been driving for a while,” said Liden.

Liden was on the morning shift when Young arrived at the gas station; and other than appearing weary, nothing seemed wrong, she said. 

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Liden called 911 as soon as the bathroom door closed. 

“They were washing their hands I could hear the water running,” said Liden.

Police arrived while Young was still inside the bathroom. She was met by officers who began asking her questions about where she was going, Liden said. 

“She said she was going to Fairfield…and they walked outside and they kept talking to her,” she said.

Police won’t say where the Young and the kids had been or why.

The search began after Young’s family members expressed concern that she had shown signs of dementia.

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Liden says after the reunion, family members of the missing three came in to thank her, and share their relief that the search is finally over.