Pizza is arguably one of the most delicious foods in the world. It covers all of the food groups, like grain, vegetables, meat, and dairy. For one woman though, ordering a delicious piping hot pizza from Pizza Hut was less about receiving the pizza, and more of a call for help. Everything seemed normal until a man in Florida decided to start bothering her. Without having easy access to her phone, and being able to call emergency services, she did the next best thing. This involved Pizza Hut, but to find out exactly what happened you will just need to keep reading.
Cheryl Treadaway was a mom with three children, who had not had the easiest of lives. She had begun dating a man named Ethan Nickerson, when she realized that he wasn’t quite right.
They would find themselves having very bad fights, which would just continue to escalate. In 2015, they were having one of these fights, when Ethan became more agitated than normal. Usually, he would just yell a lot, but this time he found a knife.
The Kids Are Alright
Ethan and Cherly had been together for a long time. Over the years, they had three children together. Cheryl loved them all dearly, and as yet another fight broke out between her, and their dad she was glad they were not around to see it. Before the fight began, she had dropped the kids off at school for the day.
She never anticipated that Ethan would turn violent, and to make it even worse he had confiscated her cell phone. With no way to make calls, Cheryl did not know how to let the world know that she was in danger at the hands of Ethan.
Think Of The Children
As the couple shares three children, Cheryl decided to try and make Ethan remember their little family. She began to talk about what a wonderful father he is, and how they all enjoyed spending time together. Ethan seemed to pause, and listen to what she was saying. The end of the school day was fast approaching, and Cheryl always went to pick the kids up.
She hoped that Ethan would understand how upsetting it would be for them if she was not there on time, which she mentioned. It was time for her to get in her car and pretend to go and get them, while she went for help to deal with Ethan.
Going To The School
Ethan mulled over what Cheryl was saying. It was undeniable that she is a great mom. He decided that it was acceptable for her to go to the school, and bring the kids home. Cheryl had no intention of doing this though. This would not be a solo outing though.
Ethan would go to the school with Cheryl, and then they would pick-up where they had left off. The children would not be able to handle seeing their parents fighting, or Ethan potentially harming Cheryl though. She wanted to protect them from the madman that their father had become.
Thinking Outside Of The Box
There were two things that Cheryl would have to overcome if she was going to get away from Ethan. First, she needed to figure out how to contact the police without a phone. Second, she was going to need to find a way to keep the children away from Ethan. They both seemed like impossible tasks.
It was unthinkable that she and her children could spend any more time living under the same roof as Ethan though. After some very quick thinking, a plan began to form in Cheryl’s mind. Ethan would have no idea what she was doing, as he would never have thought of something this creative.
As Cheryl and Ethan had been fighting all day, Cherly had not had time to prepare dinner or even a post-school snack for the kids. She mentioned this to Ethan casually and suggested that they order some food from Pizza Hut.
She would need to use the app on one of their phones to do this. Ethan once more said alright, because he was also a bit hungry, and he was sure the kids would be too.
Giving Her Phone Back
As far as quick-thinking goes, this was a pretty brilliant plan. Ethan reached into his pocket and retrieved Cheryl’s phone. He did not have the Pizza Hut app on his own phone, and downloading it while driving would have taken too much time, and data.
Cheryl quickly keyed in their order, along with a message that she hoped a human, and not a computer would read. She watched Ethan as she did this, to see if he noticed anything suspicious.
Using a Pizza Hut app to ask for help does seem pretty crazy in itself. Now that Cheryl had her phone, she could have in theory just called 9-1-1. Ethan was still wielding a knife in the car though and was watching her like a hawk.
Anything suspicious, like a quick phone call, would have set him off, and potentially made their children lose their mother. Cheryl was trying to keep everyone safe, no matter what the cost.
The availability of apps for ordering food may not feel new to us, but the concept is still only a few years old. Most restaurants have apps now, but if this had been five years ago, Cheryl would not have been able to do what she did.
With Ethan watching, she began to key in their order. The section which asked what ‘extras’ she might want to be allowed her to type in things that were not in the drop down menu. This is where she placed her message.
A Quick Note
There was only space for a very short message. Cheryl needed to think about her phrasing, otherwise, it was never going to fit. She made it appear she wanted extra cheese on all of their pizzas.
In reality, she wrote, “911hostage help!.” As soon as the message and the order were sent, she began to pray that someone would read it. Ethan was becoming more and more unhinged the closer they got to the school.
Pizza With A Side Of Help
As soon as the pizza order was printed at the closest Pizza Hut, and employee began to read through it. They were shocked by the message. Was this some sort of prank?
They weren’t sure whether or not they should believe it, but they still needed to tell the police in case it was true. The manager was called over to make the final decision. Candy Hamilton saw the message and decided it was not a hoax.
Meanwhile, Ethan and Cheryl had successfully picked up their children. Cheryl had tucked them away in their rooms while they waited for the pizza to get there. Even though she tried not to, Cheryl kept glancing out the window as Ethan yelled at her, hoping beyond hope that someone would come.
Even when the pizza finally arrived, she would try and tell the delivery man what was happening. This situation could not continue.
Know Your Customers
Luck was smiling down on Cheryl, and she was about to be rewarded in a big way. The manager at Pizza Hut, Candy, actually knew Cheryl. She had been a longtime customer of the restaurant, and they knew her by name.
This is what would save Cheryl. Candy immediately got on the phone with the police and explained what the message said. They listened carefully and then decided to send some officers over right away.
Officers On The Move
The Highland County Sheriff was called, and when dispatch took the call they sent Lieutenant Curtis Ludden over to deal with the situation. Some other deputies joined him for back-up. They knew that Ethan would probably not go down without a fight. Everyone wanted to avoid alerting Ethan and make sure that the family was kept safe during this whole ordeal.
Cheryl had already been through enough. As they arrived at the house, the cops assessed the situation.
Things started to move pretty quickly when the cops arrived, and not the pizza. Ethan was still distracted by his anger, but Cheryl saw them pull up and start moving into position. She waited for the moment the door would bang open, and Ethan would be apprehended.
It was almost time for the moment when she would be free, but she would need to distract Ethan once more. His back needed to be to the door when the cops came in.
Making A Run For It
Their youngest child had toddled into the living room where Ethan and Cheryl were. She became very worried that something might happen to the little one, and made a snap decision. The other two children were safe in their rooms, and the police were here.
It was time to grab the youngest child and make a run for it. Staring at Ethan, she grabbed the kid and bolted for the door, hoping beyond hope he wouldn’t do anything rash.
Dealing With The SItuation
The Sheriff’s Office had sent the best of their negotiators to deal with Ethan. Lt. Ludden knew just how to talk a mad man down from doing anything rash. After discussing what exactly was going on inside the house, with the now free Cheryl, he readied himself to take on Ethan.
Ethan was still in the house, and without eyes and ears on him, it was difficult to know what was going on. The first thing everyone wanted to do was make sure the other children got out.
Talking Ethan Down
The situation seemed pretty bad. Ethan still had his knife, and the kids were inside the house. Lt. Ludden began talking to Ethan and trying to see what made him tick. It became clear to him that Ethan had had some sort of psychotic break, and needed psychiatric help more than anything.
Once he realized that, he simply talked to Ethan until he dropped the knife, and gave himself up for arrest. Nobody was hurt.
Cheryl’s quick thinking is ultimately what saved her little family from the hands of Ethan. Lt. Liddell, in all of his time as a police negotiator in hostage situations, had never heard of someone getting that creative when it comes to asking for help.
He commended Cheryl on her creativity and hopes that more people in these unfortunate situations will be able to follow her example. Ethan never saw it coming, and that is why it was so ingenious.
A Mother’s Love
If there is one thing that this story has shown, it is that a mother’s love is one of the strongest powers in the world. Cheryl did everything in her power to make sure that she got her children away from her insane boyfriend.
In the future, we hope that Ethan stays out of trouble, and Cheryl and her kids get to lead a peaceful life in the sunshine state of Florida. Now, that they are free it seems like they will be able to do that.
Cheryl and her children returned to the house, once it was safe to do so. Lt. Luddell and his men checked it out to make sure that Ethan had not left any nasty surprises behind. He would be going to prison for a long time, or a mental institution.
Their children would need to have some counseling to understand what happened during the hostage situation, but ultimately they were now going to be much better off with Ethan out of their lives.
When parents no longer get on with each other, it is sometimes better to go your separate ways. Ethan could not accept this, and Cheryl did not know how to safely extricate herself from the situation.
There are always services in your community that are designed to help women and men who need help removing themselves from their partners, along with their children. All you need to do is look up your local community hotline.
Now, Cheryl and her kids are leading a peaceful life, and her children are growing up. As they get older, they can be given the choice to get to know their father again. Until that time though, we are happy that Cheryl and her kids got away from Ethan.
We are sure that creative mind of hers will help her in the future again, but hopefully in the job world, and not in a hostage situation. It’s great that the community banded together and saved her!