Women Uses Pizza Hut Order To Explain She's Being Held Hostage — And It Works
During the 2015 Super Bowl, the NFL's No More campaign ran a harrowing domestic violence commercial depicting a woman calling 911 and pretending to order a pizza — creating a sense of normalcy in an anything but normal situation. The audio used in the commercial was from a real-life call, and as it turns out, it may not be as uncommon as you would think. Cheryl Treadway, a Florida woman who says she was held hostage by her boyfriend, used Pizza Hut to alert the authorities about her potentially dangerous situation — and it worked.
According to local news station WFLA, Treadway says she was trapped in her Highlands County home after her boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson, threatened her with a knife and took away her cellphone. According to the arrest report, Treadway claims that her boyfriend was stopping her from leaving the house with her three children. He was charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and obstructing justice, according to USA Today, and could not be reached for comment.
Eventually, Treadway says, she talked her boyfriend into returning her cellphone so she could order a pizza. Treadway placed an online order for a classic pizza with pepperoni — and left in a secret message. Once she submitted the order, Nickerson allegedly forced her to give him the cellphone, according to the arrest report.
But by that time, the message was already sent to the local Pizza Hut. The receipt for the order, obtained by WFLA, states, "Please help. Get 911 to me," at the top of the order.
Below the $10.49 charge for the pepperoni pizza, the receipt gives another coded message: "911 hostage help!"
According to employees at the local Pizza Hut, Treadway was a regular customer, but they immediately knew something was off with the order. Authorities said the Pizza Hut employees immediately called the police, who then went to both Treadway's home and the Pizza Hut, just to be sure.
"We've never seen that [message in a receipt] before," the Pizza Hut's manager, Candy Hamilton, told WFLA, "I've been here 28 years and never, never seen nothing like that come through."
Lt. Curtis Ludden of the Highlands County Sheriff's Office, who was sent to investigate the emergency, added to WFLA that he doesn't know if he would have been as quick-thinking as Treadway if he was in her situation. "I mean it's just something that she did so naturally," Ludden told WFLA. "The boyfriend never knew about it until he saw us coming around the corner."
Treadway's boyfriend surrendered to police when they arrived on the scene, the Highlands County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
Images: Getty Images, screenshot/WFLA