A blood-curdling scream was a reality check for everybody inside Sonny’s BBQ in Brunswick, Georgia, on the night of a tragic ordeal, but the little girl with the big voice turned out to be the hero of the day. Because of her bravery, the world has been spared the cruelty of one man with malicious intentions.
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As reported by News4Jax, the child, who will remain anonymous, was dining with her family at the popular barbecue eatery on the family’s way home from vacation in Florida. She excused herself to go to the restroom alone. Moments later, customers and staff heard unquestionable evidence that something was badly wrong, a tremendous scream coming from the same bathroom that the young girl had just entered. Seconds later, the girl ran out into the restaurant’s dining area, hysterical.
“As a mom,” said Amber, a member of the wait staff who heard the 11-year-old’s scream, “when I heard that scream, a reality check came over me and probably along with my whole entire staff. We immediately did a lockdown,” Amber continued, explaining what happened after the child told staff she had been grabbed by a strange man in the ladies’ restroom. “I was not going to let him leave the store,” she said. The staff didn’t hesitate, wanting to make sure the girl, and all other children in Sonny’s, were safe.
Amber herself, overcome with a powerful mothering instinct, pulled the man from the men’s room where he had attempted to take refuge. Staff called 911.
The girl recalled coming out of the bathroom stall and seeing a man, but she assumed he was a cleaner. Glynn County Police Department arrived shortly thereafter and later recounted the entire ordeal as a warning to other families in the area on Facebook. “A white male entered the bathroom,” their report detailed. “The male grabbed her around the mouth and throat and attempted to subdue her. The female victim screamed,” the shocking report continued, “fought off the male, and ran out of the bathroom.”
The offender was later identified as 40-year-old John Schuler from Waycross, and it was not the first time he had been apprehended for attempting to seize a child; Schuler is a registered sex offender in the state of Georgia. For his crime at Sonny’s, Schuler was arrested and charged with aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and enticing a child for indecent purposes.
The child’s mother, furiously upset, posted her own thoughts on social media after the horrendous event. “Each and every grisly discovery of unspeakable acts committed against the most vulnerable among us fills us with outrage, and disbelief,” she wrote, no doubt echoing the sentiments of millions. “I am still in disbelief that this happened to my child. But it can,” she continued. “I hate to even think about it, but there is no telling what he would have done to [my daughter] had she frozen in fear.”
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It’s tremendously important to teach all children how to identify danger, and the 11-year-old girl who was attacked in the Sonny’s restroom that day knew exactly what to do. She saved herself and possibly others. “There is no telling how many children’s lives her bravery saved,” the Glynn County Sheriff praised. Amber and her co-worker Jordan also cite an additional helping hand that day: God. “This was a God moment,” Amber shared. “God put me in the right place at the right time […] put my staff in the right place. That’s what I believe,” she continued with conviction.
“God saved this girl, we were just people in the right place.”