-- Mother Uses Pizza Hut Order to Save Her Kids’ Lives From Inevitable Danger

Nothing fixes your food problems like ordering your favorite pizza. Has that dreaded night when you have nothing at home to cook arrived? Had a long day and just don’t have it in you to turn on your stove and whip up a meal? Having your local pizza restaurant on speed dial is one of the most reliable food options. But has it ever crossed your mind that it can help save your life?
No, we don’t mean save your life when you’re famished. One Avon Park woman was threatened by a man and found herself in a dangerous situation. To save herself and her young children, she used an unusual but ingenious tactic. She opened the pizza app on her phone. Read on to find out what happened next.

A Nutty Boyfriend

It was just another warm Spring day in Florida in May 2015 when 25-year-old Cheryl Treadway found herself in a tight spot. She was alone with her boyfriend when she discovered he had gone crazy. The mother of three wasn’t just making wild assumptions. She arrived at the conclusion that her boyfriend had lost his mind in the most terrifying way. Treadway and her 26-year-old boyfriend Ethan Nickerson had spent the entire morning arguing. 
As the quarrel escalated, the situation took a dangerous turn when Nickerson suddenly pulled out a large knife on her! She was horrified. Not only did he pull out the knife, but Nickerson also began sharpening it in her presence. Treadway feared for her life, but more importantly, she feared for her young children.

Away at School

Treadway was being held hostage by her knife-wielding boyfriend. Not only that, but he had also confiscated her phone, making it impossible for her to call for help. The mom desperately needed a way to get away. They both have three young sons, who thankfully, were away at school when Treadway pulled the knife on the mother of his kids.
With no way to run to and no one to call, Treadway’s mind raced to find a way out of her predicament. Nickerson looked like he came prepared to cause some damage. He could snap and turn the knife on her at any moment. She had to come up with an escape plan fast. What could she possibly think of?

Appealing to Dad

Imagine being in Treadway’s shoes. How would you get yourself out of such a critical situation? She couldn’t risk fighting back or running away, as her drug-addicted boyfriend was armed and dangerous. Treadway was basically on lockdown. So, her motherly instincts came into effect and she decided to appeal to his sense of fatherhood. This was the only way.
She told Nickerson that she had to bring the boys back home from school. It was clever thinking because she knew he cared about them. Having spent the entire day in a heated debate, she hoped talking about the boys would help calm her maniac boyfriend down. But was Nickerson convinced enough to let her go?

Bringing the Boys Home

Just as Treadway had hoped, he allowed her to go pick up their kids from school. Treadway’s idea worked, and she immediately began preparing to leave the house for the first time since the altercation began. But of course, Nickerson wasn’t just going to let her walk out of the house. Before she could make a move, he added the condition.
Nickerson told Treadway he could allow her to pick up the kids only if he went with her. He didn’t want her going to the police and alerting them. The whole family drove back home together, although it must have been an unusually quiet ride. The kids had no idea they were in the midst of a hostage situation and that their dad had pulled a knife out on their mom a while ago.

In a Tough Situation

After the family arrived home, it dawned on Treadway that she was in far greater trouble than she was in initially. Before she brought the kids home, it was just her against her knife-wielding, looney boyfriend. But now, she also had to worry about the kids. Even if she wanted to make a run for it, she couldn’t do so with three young boys. Plus she didn’t have her cell phone with her.
The mom was running out of options, and the more time passed, the more likely it was that Nickerson would do something crazy. But Treadway wasn’t going to give up. She had to protect her kids. She had to find a way to leave the house before someone got hurt. But what options did she have left?

Step by Step

As a mother, Treadway never stopped thinking of ways to escape the clasp of her crazy boyfriend. But she had to be careful, as one misstep could land her and her kids in serious trouble. That was when a brilliant idea hit her, one that could just be her ticket out of this sticky situation. Once again, Treadway pulled out the fatherhood card on Nickerson.
"The kids are hungry," she said. "Let's order a pizza. Let's get them some food." It was the best idea she could come up with at that moment. She figured he wouldn’t refuse the request, as he wouldn’t want his kids to starve. But the pizza was just a smokescreen. What did Treadway really have in mind?

A Unique Pizza Delivery

As outlandish as the idea may appear, it wound up working. Nickerson considered her request. Apart from wanting the kids fed, he was probably hungry too and wouldn’t mind a slice or two of pizza. Besides, Treadway wouldn’t be leaving his sight. So, sure, pizza for the family would be great.
It was an easy fix, considering the tense situation the family was in, and that was why Treadway proposed it. And by the look of things, her real plan was going to work. Nickerson handed her back her phone so that she could place the order. But, again, he surprised her with a condition. He only allowed her to make the order using the Pizza Hut app.

Finding a Way

You’re probably thinking that Treadway could quickly put a call through to the cops to come to her rescue now that she had her phone back. But it wasn’t so easy. Nickerson still had the sharpened knife, which he was using to threaten his victim. He was still unpredictable. Plus he knew there was a possibility she would try to call the police once the phone was back with her, so he was watching her.
Treadway, on the other hand, was afraid Nickerson might overhear her talking with the police. If he did, things could get ugly in an instant. She couldn’t take that risk. Whatever she wanted to do, she had to make sure that he wouldn’t be able to detect it. She had to get creative.

Paying Attention to Details

With the phone in her hands, Treadway possibly had her and her kids’ ticket out of their horrible predicament. But a few years ago, she wouldn’t have been so lucky because there was no such technology that could allow someone to place an order for food using a phone app. Now we can do so from almost anywhere at the touch of a button!
Also, there’s a comment section in the Pizza Hut app where you can add specific instructions to your order. That was exactly what Treadway was after. She instantly knew the right action to take. Rather than add a request for extra toppings or slightly burnt crust, she used the comment section to her advantage. But would her plan work? Time will tell.

Call the Cops!

Treadway placed an order for the pizza as usual, careful not to do anything that would make Nickerson suspicious. The order was for a large pepperoni pizza. The only difference between this order and the countless others she had made using the app was that she included a secret message in the comment section for the lovely people over at Pizza Hut.
Her message read: "Please help. Get 911 to me. 911hostage help!" She then sent the message on its way, hoping that it would bring the result she wanted. There were no guarantees her plan would work, so all she could do was wait. Do you think the folks at Pizza Hut acted on the message and sent Treadway the help she desperately needed?

Caught Off Guard

Treadway’s order landed at Pizza Hut and the workers were immediately taken aback when they saw it. Meanwhile, Treadway was at home hoping that her plan would yield results, for the sake of her children. She kept looking out the window, anxious, watching, waiting. The message was her only hope!
Back at Pizza Hut, the staff huddled around the computer screen where Treadway’s message was displayed. “Please help,” it read. They summoned manager Cindy Hamilton. Hamilton had 28 years on the job and she said she had never seen any message like that before. Frankly, not many people have!

Anxiously Waiting

While the staff at Pizza Hut tried to figure out what to do with the order with the unusual request, Treadway was struggling with anxiety back at home. The hostage situation had not gotten any better. Nickerson still had the knife and there was still the possibility that he would use it. She waited, staring out of her window, trying to keep hope alive.
But the mom of three couldn’t keep calm. Everyone knows kids play pranks. What if the staff at Pizza Hut thought her message was a joke? She knew her method of calling for help was unconventional, but she hoped they didn’t think she was only raising a false alarm.

Knowing the Real Deal

Although the staff at Pizza Hut were surprised to receive Treadway’s message, she was no stranger to them at all. She had been living in the area for some time and frequently bought pizza from the restaurant, so they recognized her. This fact was key in having her message taken seriously. She had never before sent such a distress signal, so the staff knew that they weren’t dealing with a prank.
They immediately did as the message said. "We didn't even question it," Hamilton said. “We immediately called 911." Events may have unfolded differently had Treadway not been a regular at the restaurant. She never would have imagined that ordering frequently from them would one day be an important factor in saving her and her children’s lives.

Help Is on the Way

Finally, the police were notified about Treadway’s horrendous situation. The Highland County Sheriff's Office got the call from Pizza Hut and they dispatched Lieutenant Curtis Ludden, alongside his deputies, to attend to the problem. They found their way to the home of Cheryl Treadway and Ethan Nickerson and prepared for the encounter.
The officers parked their cars outside when they arrived at the home. Having been anxiously staring out her window while waiting for their arrival, Treadway would have been overwhelmed with joy to see the cops. Help had finally arrived, and she and her boys would, at last, be delivered from the hours-long stronghold of Nickerson.

A Wave of Relief

At that very moment when the cops pulled up at her house rather than the pizza delivery person, Treadway felt a wave of relief. The mom felt like she had just hit the jackpot of safety. Her anxiety melted away and hope and relief took its place. Still, she had one more task to do. She had to get the kids out of the house before Nickerson became aware of what was happening.
She couldn’t risk him finding out the cops had arrived before she had safely gotten the kids out. He could lose it and decide to use the knife. Treadway had to do some clever thinking once again. Would she be able to pull this off? There was no way to know for sure.


There wasn’t a moment to spare. Treadway needed to act immediately. The cops were waiting outside, ready to whisk the young boys and their mom to safety before they dealt with their father. So Treadway decided to take charge of the situation. She snatched up her youngest son, held him tight, and made a mad dash outside.
Once outside, she met Lt. Ludden (pictured) and quickly informed him that her other two children were still in the house with her knife-wielding crazy boyfriend. By then there wasn’t anything left she could do. She was smart to choose to save her youngest child first; however, she didn’t know at that time that she was in luck.

Time for Negotiations

Treadway didn’t know it at that point in time, but she was incredibly lucky. She had no idea that she was speaking with hostage negotiator Lt. Ludden. If anyone was going to have a shot at persuading Nickerson to surrender, it was this man. Not only was he the police department’s lead negotiator, but he also had a brilliant track record. And he just happened to be on duty that night!
With Lt. Ludden on the team, talking to Nickerson would be a piece of cake. He had talked down many people in the course of his illustrious career, and the looney dad holding his family hostage with a knife was going to be just another number in his list.

A One-On-One Talk

Once Treadway was safe with them, the officers got down to the real business of dealing with her boyfriend. They still had to approach Nickerson with caution, as two young boys were still with him and they didn’t want him to do anything silly. Lt. Ludden took control of the situation.
His conversation with Nickerson lasted twenty minutes, after which the dad dropped the knife and handed himself over. At long last, the terrifying ordeal came to an end. The officers safely recovered Treadway’s other two kids and they were reunited with their mother. Their nightmare was finally over and they were all safe in each other's arms.

Praise for Treadway 

Now that Nickerson had surrendered and was in custody and the kids were reunited with their mother, things appeared to be looking up for the little family. This was possible thanks to Treadway and her quick, creative thinking. The police celebrated her cleverness and she merited it.
Lt. Ludden also had some words of praise for Treadway. "I don't know if I ever would have thought of it," he said. “I mean it’s just something that she did so naturally. The boyfriend never knew about it until he saw us coming around the corner.”

More Praise for Treadway

How many people would have come up with such a bizarre idea, chipping in a hidden message into a pizza delivery order? It was a brilliant move by Treadway, and she really should be proud of her heroic actions in saving her family. The manager of the Pizza Hut restaurant also applauded Treadway’s smarts.
Hamilton called Treadway “the hero in this situation.”  “She just thought outside the box...I think that’s amazing,” she added. What Treadway did was indeed amazing, but the entire story of her ordeal might seem like it was pulled from a movie. It’s an incredible tale of survival and a mother's love; one that might be hard to believe until you read it for yourself.

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