SAN ANTONIO -

A painful lesson with a very lucky outcome for a family in San Antonio. The parents watched as a car thief drove off with their car and their three children inside.

The family reunion came quickly, thanks to the actions of two of the boys in the car.

Lucia Lozada sat distraught emotionally drained, thinking about a short walk she'll never forget.

"She realized that she had forgotten the baby bottle, walked back in the house. When she came back out the car was gone," said Chief William McManus with the San Antonio Police Department.

Lozada had planned to go to church but instead spent part waiting to see if she'd ever see her kids again. She watched while her three children were stolen from her.

"I saw him walking and I smiled at him because I know him from around here because he's always walking up and down the street and he looked at me and just ran and got in the car and left," said. Lozada. "When I couldn't see the car anymore I started shaking. 'What am I doing? What am I doing? What is he going to do to my kids?"'

Finally, they got the reunion they had hoped for.

The thief dropped the boys off in a neighborhood nearly 10 miles away and they were taken back home by paramedics.

The boys played a role for their freedom using a toy snake.

"We shouted that we wanted our mommy and daddy," one of the boys said. "I was hitting him with a snake."

The parents said the boys had gotten the snake the day before at the store.

"I didn't want to buy it for them, but I guess God knew that he was going to use it," said Lozada.

This mother learned a difficult lesson about leaving kids in a running car.

"Sometimes things in our lives have to happen in order for us to realize what we have and not to take things for granted," said Lozada. 

She said she forgives the man who took the car, but police are still looking for him.