When employees arrived for work at a McDonald’s in Lodi, CA on Christmas Eve, little did they know they’d soon be involved in helping diffuse a potentially life or death situation. The San Joaquin County Sheriff�s Office just shared the dramatic story on their Facebook page today.
The post describes how a woman came into the restaurant around 2 p.m., told an employee at the counter to call 911 and asked them to hide her. �After the woman used the restroom, she attempted to place an order at the counter, but the suspect, Eduardo Valenzuela, was nearby and demanded she use the drive thru,” says the Facebook post.
Lucky for the woman, the restaurant is part of the National Safe Place initiative, where businesses display a bold yellow placard (like the one above), and train employees to assist people who need immediate help and safety, like endangered teens and victims of human trafficking and abuse.
The restaurant manager called police and told workers to hold up the drive-thru line so police had time to get to the scene. As the victim entered the drive-thru, she mouthed “HELP ME” to an employee. While the employee stalled, police arrived, rushed outside and pulled the woman over. She told police Valenzuela had been violent with her before, and had threatened to kill her if she didn’t drive him to see his family for Christmas Eve. Police found a stolen gun in the trunk and arrested Valenzuela. �It was one of those fight-or-flight kind of things,� a McDonald�s employee told CBS13 KOVR.
�They just took over and they didn�t hesitate.�
Kudos to the restaurant employees for putting their training to use and doing the right thing. If you’re in a situation where you need help, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).