By Barbara Liston
ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - Employees at a Pizza Hut in Florida were praised on Wednesday for helping rescue a customer who wrote a message in her online pizza order that she was being held hostage and needed someone to call 911, authorities said.
The note led to the arrest of Ethan Nickerson, 26, who used a large knife to hold his girlfriend and their three children hostage, said Highlands County sheriff's spokeswoman Nell Hays.
The Pizza Hut employees "not only saw something but they acted on it," Hays said.
Cheryl Treadway, 25, was a regular customer at a Pizza Hut in Avon Park in central Florida, which took seriously her plea in the comments section of an online order on Monday.
"Who would have thought of that?" Hays said.
After deputies arrived at the house, Nickerson surrendered peacefully. Treadway and the couple's three children, ages 1, 5 and 6, did not appear seriously harmed, authorities said.
Treadway told deputies that she and Nickerson had been arguing all day while he held a knife and took away her cell phone.
Nickerson rode along with her to pick up the children at school, and later gave her back her cell phone only long enough to order pizza, the sheriff's office said.
Nickerson remained in jail on Wednesday facing charges of kidnapping, battery causing bodily harm, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and obstruction of justice, according to jail records. Bond was set at $45,000.
(Editing by Letitia Stein and Bill Trott)