Woman rescued by McDonald's staff after mouthing 'help me' at drive-thru

The woman was travelling with a man who had allegedly threatened her with a stolen firearm.

McDonald's employees take orders at the Union Square fast-food chain McDonald's in New York (photo credit: SHANNON STAPLETON / REUTERS)
McDonald's employees take orders at the Union Square fast-food chain McDonald's in New York
(photo credit: SHANNON STAPLETON / REUTERS)
A woman has been rescued from a dangerous situation by McDonald's employees, after she mouthed 'help me' at the drive-thru.
According to a Facebook post by the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office, the woman alerted McDonald's staff in Flag City to her plight shortly after 2pm on Christmas Eve when she approached the counter and asked the server to call 911. She also gave the employee the license plate of their vehicle and asked them to hide her.
After using the bathroom, she attempted to return to the counter to place an order, but the man she was travelling with, Eduardo Valenzuela, was nearby and forced her to use the drive-thru instead.
There, she mouthed 'help me' as she placed their order, with Valenzuela in the passenger seat. At that moment deputies arrived at the restaurant, who directed them to the victim, still in the drive-thru line. The officers ordered her to pull over, whereupon they arrested Valenzuela.  
Officers comforted the shaken woman, who told them that Valenzuela had been violent with her in the past. She said that he had ordered her to drive him to visit family members, and that he had threatened her life with a firearm. A stolen firearm was found in the trunk of the vehicle.
Valenzuela was taken to the San Joaquin County jail, where he was booked for criminal threats, possession of stolen property, and a felon (prohibited person) possession of a firearm. His bail has been set at $360,000, CNN has reported.
The Golden State Restaurant Group, which owns the McDonald's visited by the woman, has designated all of its restaurants as Safe Place locations, under an initiative designed to make help readily available to those in need across the country. According to their website, the Safe Place initiative has designated a number of organizations and businesses as Safe Place locations, include libraries, YMCAs, fire stations, public buses, various businesses, and social service facilities.
People in need can check the Safe Place interactive map, or text the word "safe" along with their city, state or zip code to 4HELP - 44357 - to receive a reply with their closest location from the organization.
Golden State McDonald's lauded their team for coming to the woman's aid in her hour of need.
"We are proud of our team for doing their part in being A SAFE PLACE!" the group posted to Facebook. 
"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!"