Officers were called to a McDonald's restaurant at 587 El Camino Real on a report of an attempted kidnapping at 3:30 p.m., South San Francisco police Sgt. Bruce McPhillips said.
The boy had been in the restroom drying his hands when a man came out of a stall and stared at him for several seconds, McPhillips said.
The man then grabbed the boy in a bear hug from behind, lifted him off the ground and turned around, according to police.
The boy screamed for help, causing the suspect to drop him, McPhillips said.
The boy ran out of the restroom and found his father, who searched the area with the restaurant manager but did not find the suspect.
The suspect is described as a white man in his 30s with fair complexion and a t did not find the suspect.
The suspect is described as a white man in his 30s with fair complexion and a heavyset build. He was seen wearing a black beret and a green military jacket at the time of the incident.
Anyone who was in the area at that time and might have information helpful to the investigation is asked to call South San Francisco police at (650) 877-8900.