A New York restaurant called the police after receiving an online food order with additional instructions asking for help and succeeded in saving a woman who was being held hostage.
The Chipper Truck Cafe in Yonkers, north of Manhattan, is a restaurant open 24 hours a day and they received an online order on Sunday at around 5am that said “please call police,” owner Alice Bermejo told Inside Edition Digital.
The plea was included in the “additional instructions” section of the order. “Please don’t make it obvious,” the message said.
Ms Barmejo said that staff at the Irish eatery called her husband to ask for advice. He told them to call the police.
“It was a strange message because you could see that it was [written] like in a hurry,” Ms Barmejo said. “It wasn’t correct. So, we could see that it was someone that was in distress.”
The message prompted the arrest of 32-year-old Kemoy Royal in the Bronx. He was taken into custody on several charges, including rape, unlawful imprisonment, and assault, the NYPD told the outlet.
The suspect is being held on a $25,000 bail. Online records show he’s set to appear in court on Friday.
“Thankfully, the girls paid attention,” Ms Bermejo said. “We always watch the notes because we don’t want to make mistakes on customers’ orders.”
She added to Inside Edition that she thinks the victim could have “told him, ‘listen, I’m hungry. Can we order some food?’ And that’s her thinking like ‘I can send a message’. I just still can’t believe that it happened”.
The restaurant owner said the cafe later received a call from a friend of the 24-year-old woman to thank them and to let them know that she was safe.
Ms Barmejo said the cafe workers were happy that they “were able to help somebody”.
In a statement to The Independent, a spokesperson for Grubhub said, “every time we see a simple but extraordinary act like this, we are amazed by how our partners positively impact their communities”.
“From drivers delivering in difficult weather to our corporate employees volunteering at food banks to these restaurant employees in Yonkers who recognized a serious situation and acted quickly, we’re grateful and humbled that Grubhub can be a part of such incredible stories of kindness and heroism,” the spokesperson added.
Grubhub said its Chief Operations Officer Eric Ferguson reached out to the restaurant on Wednesday “to offer $5,000 that [Ms Barmejo] can invest in the restaurant as our way of recognizing” the owner and staff “for their quick thinking”.