The trouble started when Stephanie Thomas stepped out of her Volkswagen SUV in San Francisco's Mission District Tuesday night.
A woman then hopped into the driver's seat while Stephanie snapped pictures of her husband McKay and his cousin. The woman drove away.
McKay tried to jump onto the moving vehicle.
"I think the hardest part of the whole thing was watching the car turn the corner and out of my sight. And that's the moment when you're like, 'OK. This is now out of my control,'" said McKay.
"I'm grateful that even through that long 35 minutes, I did have this kind of underlying feeling of it's that it's going to be OK," said Stephanie.
A man found the SUV blocking his driveway on Sweeny Street, a few miles away in the Bayview. He called police when he saw the children, strapped into their car seats in the back of the car.
No arrests have been made.