Woman saved by McDonald’s employees when she mouthed ‘help’ and ‘call 911’

She picked the right McDonald’s.

A woman in distress walked up to the counter of a McDonald’s restaurant in Lodi, California, and the employees there literally saved her life. Instead of the usual customer order of something like “I’ll have the #2 meal please,” the woman mouthed “help me” and asked the employee to hide her.

According to police, the staff took the situation seriously and might have thwarted a human trafficking case just in time.

Here’s what the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook about the situation:

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“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 traveling 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,” the statement read.

“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,” it continued.

The woman was visibly shaken as Valenzuela sat in the passenger’s seat. She was ordered to pull over where deputies then comforted her. At that time, she confided that Valenzuela had been violent with her in the past. He had demanded she take him to his family and threatened to use a firearm if she refused. Police searched the vehicle and found an out of state stolen firearm in the trunk.

Valenzuela was booked in the San Joaquin County Jail for criminal threats, stolen property, and felon (prohibited person) in possession of a firearm. His bail is set at $360,000.

“We are proud of our team for doing their part in being A SAFE PLACE!” Golden State McDonald’s said in a Facebook post.

“Thank you to our team for handling this appropriately, and to the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office Deputies who are constantly serving and protecting our community! We are proud to be in support with both A Safe Place and all of our law enforcement! Thank you for all of the community support and please always be safe and aware!”