McDonald's Employee's "Safe Place" Training Pays Off in a Big Way

SheSpeaksTeam By SheSpeaksTeam 01.10.20
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A recent story of abuse and heroism sheds some light on the importance of having designated safe spaces for victims to go for help. A woman recently visited a McDonald’s that happened to be a “safe place for abuse and human trafficking victims” and was able to escape what could have been a very grave situation.

Today reports about the woman who mouthed the words “Help me” to the drive-thru attendant at McDonald’s and was able to save herself from a potentially deadly situation. It was Christmas Eve when a California woman walked into a local McDonald’s and asked the employee to hide her and call 911, she was also able to give her the license plate number of the car she was driving. A man by the name of Eduardo Valenzuela soon showed up and made the woman leave the restaurant to use the drive-thru instead.

Once she was at the drive-thru window with her alleged abuser, the woman secretly mouthed the words “Help me” to the employee. The employee was able to reach the police and give the woman’s license plate number which led to a quick response by deputies who pulled the car over and arrested Valenzuela.

According the the victim who remains anonymous, she was frighterned for her life after Valenzuela had been violent with her in the past and was now threatening to end her life. Police found a firearm in the trunk of the stolen car Valenzuela was in and forcing the woman to drive to his family’s home. 

Luckily, the woman asked for help at an establishment designated by the National Safe Place Network for people to go “in crisis situatuions.” People who work at these designated spots receive training on how to help people who come to them facing desperate circumstances. Other locations that are often designated as safe spaces include Starbucks, Walmart, Goodwill and Wendy's. Libraries, convenience stores and fast food restaurants often receive this designation as well.

What do you think of this woman’s experience getting help at a McDonald’s?

Do you think more establishments should offer training to employees on how to help out in situations like this?

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  • Annalynne0007 By Annalynne0007
    02.25.20  

    I believe that all establishments and even private individuals should be educated and trained because often these vulnerable individuals are so controlled they cannot even step out of the back of utility trucks and transport vans to use a public restroom!

  • janiea By janiea
    02.05.20  

    Amen and praise God for this employee that was able to help!

  • JPAL7573 By JPAL7573
    01.20.20  

    i heard of this - such an amazing story! i think all stores should do this

  • SophiaG By SophiaG
    01.18.20  

    I think implementing designation spots is a wonderful idea. Training for employees is also a great idea. There are always a negative side but I feel as long as they are trained to help and not engage to the point of putting themselves or others in harm it would be helpful. It's so hard for those that have not experienced abuse to understand the victims mind and how it becomes such a vicious cycle. Unfortunately years ago there wasn't much available for victims. There was a time in my past where this would have been very helpful to myself. I'm happy to say that with lots of changes, growing, my faith in God and wonderful counselors I have been able to live a peaceful abuse free life for over 20 years. We all need to show care for others and help if at all possible. You never know what kind of impact you can make on someones life with even a small gesture of kindness.

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