The incident occurred this Tuesday in Florida, where a man was holding a mother and her children hostage. The woman ordered a pizza from her local Pizza Hut, and included a comment asking for help. Chef Alonia Hawk noticed the message and store manager Candy Hamilton was responsible for printing it out, writes Charles Billi for USA Today.

Pizza Hut logo

Pizza Hut’s chef raises alert after noticing call for help

“It said ‘Please help! Get 911 to me.’ And she placed a pizza order and then down here it said, ‘911 hostage help,’ ” said Hamilton, of the Pizza Hut in Avon Park, Fla., which is situated 84 miles from Tampa.

Victim Cheryl Treadway made the online order and typed her cry for help in the comment box. Luckily Hawk was paying attention and noticed the chilling plea. “I was kinda scared. I was scared for the person,” said Hawk.

Store manager Hamilton “immediately called 911,” setting off a dramatic chain of events. Lt. Curtis Ludden, a Highlands County Sheriff’s Office hostage negotiator, was the first person to arrive at the scene. Cheryl Treadway managed to run out of the house with one of her children in her arms, but two more kids were held inside with Ethan Nickerson, Treadway’s boyfriend. Police stated that Nickerson was armed with a knife and refused to answer the door.

Dramatic situation successfully defused

“She comes running toward us but two kids are still in the house with a person who’s on narcotics and you don’t know how their mindset — with a knife — and we need to get them out of the house,” said Ludden.

The couple had apparently been arguing over the course of the day. Nickerson took her cellphone and allegedly forced her into picking up her kids from school with him in tow. Upon their return home, Treadway managed to get Nickerson to give back her phone so she could order Pizza Hut, and her quick thinking ended up defusing the situation.

Nickerson was removed from the Florida house without incident around 20 minutes later. He has now been charged with aggravated assault with a weapon without intent to kill, battery, false imprisonment and obstructing justice by depriving communication to law enforcement.