Bangor police on Monday shared a cautionary tale about jumping to conclusions, and possibly, the wisdom of owning a white van in the age of social media.

The story started when a bystander observed a person in a white van with out-of-state licence plates stopped to ask for directions to the nearest gas station. The driver then approached someone holding a small child, according to a retelling posted on the Bangor Police Department Facebook.

The bystander then called police (and took to social media) to report the possible kidnapping scenario. That post to Facebook was shared 1,300-plus times in the area and "caused terror in the hearts of all people who have children or white vans," according to department's post, which, like most on its page, is tinged with humor.

Turns out the driver of the van, which was tracked down by police, was a 77-year-old woman just looking for gas. Turns out the woman is also a big fan of babies, and took some time to say hello to the child.

Of course, cautionary tales from days-gone-by often include white vans associated with kidnappers, and Bangor police were glad to receive and check out the call.

But for all of those who were frightened by the post, police urge you to check news coverage of any abductions. There have been zero in Bangor.

And Tim Cotton, the man behind the department's Facebook page and the author of the post, had some lighthearted advice for those who own white vans and don't want to be pegged as kidnappers.

"If you have a white van, paint it red."

You can read the whole story on the Bangor Police Department's Facebook page.

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