By Courtney Knudsen | firstname.lastname@example.org
Northeast Florida women have a new way to call for backup when a date goes wrong, and it is as simple as ordering a drink from the bar. St. Johns County eatery Saucy Taco has started serving ‘angel shots,’ which aren’t beverages at all. The drinks are a way to signal to the bartender that you could be in danger.
The idea of the ‘angel shot’ originated at a United Kingdom restaurant. Owners of the pub placed signs in the women’s bathroom informing women to “ask for Angela” if they needed a way out of their date. A photo of the sign went viral, and restaurants around the globe began offering the service. Saucy Taco manager Emily Herbert says she immediately fell in love with the idea when she saw it circulating online.
“I wanted Saucy to be a safe place for women to come on a date and if the situation got sticky, we would be able to help them.”
At Saucy Taco, customers can order the shot one of three ways, each one indicating what they need from the bartender. If the customer orders the shot neat, they will be escorted to their car. If it is ordered on the rocks, the bartender will call a taxi or Uber for the individual. And in more serious cases, the shot can be ordered with lime, and the police will be called.
These backup systems vary. The name ‘angel shot’ is the most common used, but is not the only name. Herbert said if there was ever a concern for patron’s safety due to the name becoming more well-known, they would change the name of the drink.
Statistics from the Pew Research Center, say the number of online daters has nearly tripled since 2011. With more individuals meeting online before meeting face to face, there is more uncertainty about who you are dating. Herbert said that the growing number of dating sites is what inspired her to implement ‘angel shots.’
“I know so many people start dating via online dating websites and I’ve heard horror stories from some girls about the guy not being anything like his photos, or him being creepy in real life.”
Courtney Hoston, 22, is a graduate student in St. Augustine. Hoston regularly uses online dating sites and agrees with Herbert.
“It’s too easy for people to pretend to be someone else,” she said. “And then you’re stuck sitting across from a stranger who is also a liar.”
Hoston said that she’s been on dates where she was uncomfortable and wanted a way out.
“These days nobody believes the old ‘have a friend call and fake an emergency’ trick. So we need something more discreet for safety.”
St. Johns County has seen an increase of nearly 4 percent in violent sex offenses since 2011, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, but there is no way to know if the increase is due to a rise in online dating encounters. However, women like Hoston and bartenders at Saucy Taco are excited about the ‘angel shot’s’ potential to help cut down on violence that could stem from online dates gone bad.