RALEIGH, NC -- The owner of Clyde Cooper's Barbeque was watching the ABC11 I-Team report this week about the 400 percent increase of heroin use in Wake County. Debbie Holt heard the details about how the heroin gets here from Mexico, and she watched extra closely. Because what happened at Holt's restaurant last Friday brought the problem very close to home.
On her iPhone, Holt played the restaurant's surveillance footage from last week.
"The guy cuts in and goes to the bathroom. We never see him come out," she said.
The video shows a clean-cut young man in khaki pants and new shoes walking straight to the men's room at Clyde Cooper's, and he never comes back out.
He was in there so long, Holt and husband, Randy, closed the restaurant that night unaware the man was still locked inside.
Hours later at home, Holt got an eerie feeling.
"We both look at each other and I said somebody is in the bathroom," Holt said. "He said I got a bad feeling, I feel like somebody is in the bathroom."
Debbie and Randy rushed back to the restaurant. And after three calls to Raleigh Police, officers showed up too. They could see the man through the crack of the door.
And when they finally got inside, they got an up-close look at Wake County's heroin epidemic.
"His head was there, his legs here, a needle there and a needle there," Debbie described as she recalled the scene inside her men's restroom.
"It took (police and paramedics) literally five good minutes to get the guy to respond. He had a pulse," Holt said.
Police say the man had overdosed on five bindles of heroin. It came in individual packets with the "brand name," Head Trauma.
All told, the man was locked in that bathroom for more than six hours.
"(Police) said, you know the good thing is, you realized this because if you didn't, he might not be alive in the morning," Holt said.
"Probably like a lot of people, I didn't realize (the heroin problem) was that close to me," Holt said. "In my bathroom of a restaurant, some nice-looking guy comes in does heroin in my bathroom. That's appalling to me. It saddens me."
The man was taken to the hospital and is expected to be fine.
But Holt didn't leave it there. She looked him up on Facebook and messaged his mother. She told the woman the reason her son didn't die in that bathroom is because he was meant to be a survivor. Perhaps, destined to use this story to overcome his addiction.
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BBQ restaurant owners may have saved a life