Employees at a McDonald’s in the US have been praised by police after they assisted a woman who mouthed ‘help me’ at the drive-thru.
The woman went to the counter of the restaurant in Lodi, California, at around 2pm on Christmas Eve and asked staff to call 911, before going to the toilet.
She then tried to place an order at the counter but suspect, Eduardo Valenzuela, insisted they use the drive-thru. There, the woman mouthed the words ‘help me’ while at the window and a staff member subsequently called the police, with the restaurant manager ordering employees to hold up the drive-thru line so the car couldn’t move.
When officers arrived at the scene, they found a stolen and loaded gun in the boot of the vehicle. The woman told police she feared for her life as Valenzuela had been violent towards her before and had threatened her life earlier that day.
Valenzuela was arrested and charged with making criminal threats, possessing stolen property and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
In a post on Facebook, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office said: “We are lovin’ it! A victim is safe thanks to the McDonald’s crew at the Flag City location in Lodi. On 12/24/19, shortly after 2 P.M. a woman went into the McDonald’s restaurant and told an employee at the counter to call 9-1-1. She also gave the employee the license plate of the vehicle that she was travelling in 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.
“While in the drive thru, she mouthed to an employee, “HELP ME.” Just then, deputies arrived and spoke with employees inside the restaurant, they rushed them out the door telling them that the woman needing help was in the drive-thru line. The woman was driving her vehicle, with Mr Valenzuela in the passenger seat when deputies ordered her to pull over.
“During the investigation, deputies comforted the shaken woman and discovered that Valenzuela had been violent with her in the past. On this day he told her to take him to visit his family and threatened her life, stating he would use a firearm. A firearm was located in the trunk of the vehicle (stolen out of state).”
McDonald’s spokesperson, Regina Camera, said she was proud of how staff handled the incident.
Speaking to FOX40 News, she said: “I think it was just one of those flight or fight kind of things – they just took over and they didn’t hesitate.”