LODI (KOVR/CNN) – Some scary moments for a Sacramento woman desperately trying to escape her abuser.
“She did come in pretty frantic,” said Regina Camera with Golden State Restaurant Group.
As soon as she walked in on Christmas Eve, she asked for employees to hide her.
“I think it was just one of those kinds of flight or fight type of things. They just took over and didn’t hesitate,” said Camera.
It turns out this is a designated “safe place” with employees trained to handle all kinds of emergencies.
In this case, they urged the woman to use the restroom.
“Quick thinking on her part. She provided a license plate to the employees at the McDonald’s,” said Andrea Lopez, spokeswoman with the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.
When she came out, deputies say she attempted to place an order at the counter but the suspect – Eduardo Valenzuela – walked in and demanded she go outside.
“And he said, ‘no you need order thru the drive-thru.’”
When she pulled up to the window, Lopez says she mouthed the words “help me.”
And that’s when the employees took action.
“Our manager actually had our employees hold up the drive-thru line so that we were able to stop that car from moving forward, ” said CAmera.
When deputies arrived, they were quickly rushed outside to the drive-thru, ordering Valenzuela out of the car and discovering a loaded stolen revolver tucked away inside.
The restaurant credits the employees for taking their emergency training seriously.
“It was such an exciting and proud moment for us to know that what we’re doing is working and that our employees are comfortable handling things like that,” said Camera.
Valenzuela was later put in jail.
He’s now facing charges of making criminal threats, possessing stolen property, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.