McDonald's employees in Northern California are being credited with taking fast action to help save a woman on Christmas Eve.
When the woman entered the restaurant in Lodi to use the bathroom, she stopped at the counter to tell an employee to call 911 and gave a license plate number of the vehicle she was in, according to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office.
After she returned from the bathroom, she approached the counter again to order food, but the man who had accompanied her inside, Eduardo Valenzuela, demanded she order at the drive-thru window.
When their car got to the drive-thru window, the woman - who was driving, with Valenzuela in the passenger seat - mouthed "help me" to the McDonald's employees. By then, the San Joaquin County sheriff's deputies had already arrived, ordering her to pull over and arresting the man.
Authorities say that Valenzuela had a stolen firearm in his vehicle, and had allegedly been violent with the woman who asked for help. He demanded she drive him to see his family and threatened her with the weapon, police said.
He is charged with making threats, possessing stolen property and felon in possession of a firearm.
The Lodi McDonald's restaurant is a registered "Safe Place" through the Golden State Restaurant Group, meaning it is a designated location where young people can go if they are in immediate danger and need to be brought to safety.
The San Joaquin County Sherrif's Office called the restaurant a safe place "for abuse and human trafficking victims" in their Facebook post.
"We are proud of our team for doing their part in being A SAFE PLACE!" the McDonald's said. "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!"