As the pizza industry continues to embrace digital, one woman found an unconventional way to use Pizza Hut's app to escape a potentially dangerous situation.
On Monday, a woman in Highlands County, Fla., used Pizza Hut's app to report a hostage situation, reports WFLA. The woman, Cheryl Treadway, had been threatened by her knife-wielding boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson. Treadway had no way to escape or call for help, as Nickerson had taken her phone and trapped her and her three children in the home.
However, Treadway convinced Nickerson to allow her to order pizza using the Pizza Hut app. In the comments, usually an area reserved for designations such as "extra ranch on the side," Treadway wrote "911hostage help!"
Pizza Hut employees quickly called authorities and police were dispatched to the house. Treadway greeted the police at the door and escaped with one child. Police managed to convince Nickerson to surrender. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a weapon without intent to kill, battery, false imprisonment and obstructing justice by depriving communication to law enforcement.
The urban legend of a woman escaping domestic violence under the ruse of ordering pizza has been around since at least 2010, when the Norwegian Woman's Shelter Association created a public service announcement using this scenario, reports the myth-debunking website Snopes. This year, a similar PSA featuring a woman calling 911 while pretending to order pizza became the first ever Super Bowl commercial to address domestic violence and sexual assault. Whether or not these PSAs are based in reality, in this instance the pizza chain certainly came through, giving someone the means to find a way out of a scary situation.