An IHOP waiter thwarted an attempted robbery at his San Antonio, TX, restaurant.
Elijah Arnold was opening the restaurant early Thursday morning when he heard something happening at the cash register.
“I just heard the register popping,” Arnold told ABC affiliate WFAA.
Arnold went to investigate the noise and saw someone trying to pull cash out of the register.
“I stepped out and looked and there he was pulling the register out and everything so I just took off, my instinct kicked in and I took off full speed at him,” he said.
IHOP’s surveillance footage shows Arnold, a third degree black belt, tackling the man to the ground and then hanging on to the robber’s foot as he tries to escape from the pancake house.
Arnold, who was hit in the face with crowbar during the altercation, said the robber was pleading with him during the struggle.
“He tries to start apologizing and, ‘man I’m so sorry. I know I hit you,” he told WFAA. “I know I'm trying to steal your money, but just give it to me. I need it really bad’ and everything like that.”
Though Arnold didn’t let the man get away, he was sympathetic to the robber.
“Two weeks ago, I wasn't working,” Arnold told NBC affiliate KABB. “I was homeless.”
The 22-year-old had just returned to work at IHOP, where he worked four years earlier before getting addicted to drugs and continuing in a downward spiral, NY Daily News reports.
“That was my money in the register,” Arnold said. “It was my manager's money in the register. And it was my IHOP’s money in the register. And I'm not going to let anybody take that.”
The suspect was apprehended, but the best part for Arnold was the gratitude from his managers.
“They just congratulated me and said thank you,” Arnold told WFAA, “and that was the biggest thing that I could have was the thank you from my managers.”
According to reports, two men are still be sought in connection to the case.