She had been struggling during her third trimester, but today was proving to be even more difficult than usual. Her belly had grown enormous, her back ached and her feet were tired.
She waddled over to collect the bill and dirty dishes as fast as she could but was taken aback when she saw that the officer had already left.
Running To Her Manager
She opened the leather folder that contained the check and glanced at the bill to make sure that the officer had paid. Her eyes immediately fell on something scrawled in black ink on the bill.
She scanned over it and immediately ram to her manager, trying not to break down in tears.
Scrimping And Saving
Courtney Cadigan was eight months pregnant, but she continued to work as hard as she could, taking all the shifts she could manage at the Lamp Post Diner.
She was preparing for the future, hoping to save enough money for the imminent arrival of her baby.
Every Cent Counts
Since the time she had found out that she was going to be a mother, she realized just how important it was to save every cent she earned.
She knew how expensive the hospital fees, diapers, and everything else that came with a new baby could be — every penny counted!
Working in the service industry is a thankless and difficult job. Most people aren’t aware that waitresses and waiters are on their feet for hours at a time.
The hard work and low salary that servers earn is also coupled with difficult customers and many diners don’t tip nearly enough. This means that making ends meet becomes even more difficult.
An Unfamiliar Face
The Lamp Post Diner was well-known in the area, so Courtney was used to seeing her regulars. These regular customers included police officers, who would stop in for a bite to eat before they began their day.
Although Courtney was used to waiting on policemen, on this fateful day an officer walked in. But she didn’t recognize him.
A Strange Surprise
Before the unknown officer left the diner, he scrawled a note for Courtney on his bill.
When she read it, to say that she was both stunned and surprised would be an understatement. She had never received anything like this before, and she hadn’t been ready.
Courtney’s due date, which also happened to be April Fools Day, loomed ever closer. She was growing increasingly concerned about her financial stability.
Of course, it didn’t help matters that her relationship with the father of her child had turned sour.
Now, Courtney was facing motherhood on her own. Thoughts about how she would manage were racing through her mind when the police officer walked in and took a seat in her section of the diner.
She rushed to bring him a menu and welcomed him with the warmest smile she could muster.
Some of the regulars who frequented the diner were police officers from the nearby Voorhees Township Police Department.
So when Courtney tried to place this new officer’s face and couldn’t, she just knew that something strange was afoot.
An Odd Development
Courtney tried her hardest to ignore all the signs and red flags her instincts were screaming at her as she approached the officer.
She tried to treat him like any other customer and took his order. But that’s when things began to take a strange turn indeed.
Trying Not To Worry
To compound Courtney’s worries, her ex and the father of her child hadn’t made contact with her for a few weeks. This couldn’t be a good sign.
Courtney had wanted him to be a part of their child’s life, despite their relationship having ended on very bad terms. Even though he hadn’t given her the emotional and financial support she had needed when she discovered that she was pregnant, it is only natural for a mother to want their child to know their father.
Putting On A Brave Face
But why had Courtney decided to end her relationship with her partner? Well, let’s just say that he had never treated her with the respect she had deserved.
With worries about her ex racing through her mind, she pushed her anxieties away and tried to crack a smile and get on with it. So she pulled her pad out and took the unfamiliar man’s order. But she never expected what was to come.
Uncomfortable And Awkward
Courtney couldn’t help but feel uneasy when the officer had walked in, and now she knew why. She knew she had never seen this man before.
She began to speculate wildly while he gave her his order, studying his features carefully so that she could remember them later if she needed to. And she had a feeling in her gut that she would.
A Stony Expression
Courtney put her fears to rest by telling herself that perhaps the officer wasn’t from around these parts. Or maybe he just didn’t eat at the Lamp Post Diner.
She only prayed that she wasn’t in some kind of trouble, or worse, that his presence had something to do with her ex. But the stern expression on the officer’s face did nothing to soothe her worries.
A Situation Unfolding
Courtney, now red-faced and stuttering, tried to engage the officer in some small-talk.
Although she was intimidated by his presence in the diner, she tried to treat him like any of her other regular patrons. But each time she tried to exchange pleasantries about the weather or his order, he shut her down with a tight smile and a small nod of his head — she was getting nowhere by being friendly.
His Strange Order
The officer cut Courtney short with a cold look and asked her to fetch a glass of water and a garden salad. Courtney, only too happy to have been given a reprieve from the awkward situation, happily obliged.
But she was all too aware of his eyes burning a hole in her back as she waddled to the door to the kitchen.
When Courtney returned with a tray and nudged open the swing doors, she immediately noticed that the diner had filled up to capacity while she had her back turned.
Another couple seated in a booth behind the officer was trying to get her attention, so she rushed off to take their drinks orders and warmly introduced herself.
The new patrons immediately noticed Courtney’s huge baby bump and her tired eyes. They expressed concern that she was still on her feet and working hard during her last trimester, but Courtney shrugged off their concern and explained that she would be going on maternity leave soon.
“I was telling the people at the table behind him that it was my first baby,” she recalls, “I was going out of work soon.”
The couple took some time to congratulate Courtney on her pregnancy before they placed their orders. But nobody knew that the cop was listening intently to every word.
When Courtney finally brought him his salad, she dashed off again to attend to the other customers who all wanted her attention. But his eyes never left her as she moved around the room.
Asking For The Check
The mysterious man ate his salad very quickly and drank his water in record time.
After that, he raised his hand to ask for the check. The total came to $9.00, and Courtney brought the bill over.
The diner was getting busier and busier, so Courtney was off again.
She hurried to get orders of the diners out on time, so she didn’t notice the police officer had already walked out. She went about her duties.
When Courtney opened the leather folder, she discovered there was enough cash to pay for the meal.
However, she also saw a note which made her knees weak. It was written on the bill and it was clearly directed at her.
What Was The Problem?
She recalled later, “He must have overheard my conversation with other customers.” Was he shaming her for working while pregnant?
Or maybe he thought the service was too slow since she couldn’t move around too quickly.
Courtney picked up the note and read it slowly and carefully. She couldn’t believe her eyes! The note on the bill read: “Enjoy ur 1st. You will never forget it.” Next to the note was $9 in change.
How nice he was for wishing her luck!
But then she looked down at the tip amount and she almost fell over. Her pregnancy hormones were raging and she was stunned in disbelief at the generosity of the man.
She couldn’t help herself and she ran directly to her manager crying.
Although Courtney tried to contain her tears, she failed miserably.
She went into the back room with the check in-hand, and when her boss saw that her employee was distraught, she thought something terrible had happened.
Was It A Mistake?
Was it a mistake? Maybe he couldn’t see very well and thought his bill was more than it actually was.
Or maybe he meant to write $10.00 instead of $100? Although these scenarios both sounded unlikely, Courtney couldn’t believe he actually meant to leave a $100 tip.
Courtney followed up by saying, “We didn’t really even talk. I brought him his menu, he ordered a salad and I got it for him. I was telling the people at the table behind him that it was my first baby.”
He must have overheard and decided to step in!
Out Of Breath
Taking a few minutes to catch her breath, Courtney explained everything. However, she still couldn’t believe it – the man had given her a $100 tip!
Courtney earned far less than $100 in an entire day!
Courtney couldn’t believe that someone would do something so kind for her, especially a complete stranger! She knew that these kinds of stories existed, but she always saw them on the news and they happened to other people.
Nothing like this ever happened to a small-town girl like her…or so she thought!
Courtney told the Gloucester Township Patch, “It’s truly a blessing to come across people like him and I’m forever thankful for that.”
However, when she had recovered, she thought of thanking the officer in person. Was it possible?
Nowhere In Sight
Courtney hurried to the parking lot, hoping that he hadn’t left yet, but her heart fell when she discovered that he wasn’t there anymore.
She wondered how she would find him. She didn’t even catch the nice man’s name.
Sharing The Note
After Courtney’s shift, she went back home and called the Voorhees Township Police Department right away.
She wanted to track down the officer. She also shared with her father, Brian, what had happened to her.
Her father was really taken aback by the rather generous tip, so he shared a picture of the note Courtney received on Facebook.
He wrote, “What a wonderful person to not only leave a VERY generous tip but a lovely message too”.
He continued, “It’s not the amount, it’s the humanity of it,” Brian commented.
“He saw she was struggling and a young girl. She was working in a diner while pregnant, standing with that kind of weight on her, and it was his way of saying, ‘I understand your struggle.’”
A Lasting Effect
However, the mystery officer actually did more on that day. He impacted Courtney’s dad in an incredible way, one that would stay with him long after the day came to a close.
What are we talking about exactly?
In his Facebook post, Brian wrote, “You always hear about how bad the police are, how they treated you like dirt, how they are on a power trip.”
He added, “I am sure there are some bad apples, but most of them are just doing their jobs”.
“…they deal with the worst of society every day and have to keep going back every day and deal with it all over again.”
Brian’s opinion of police officers has been forever changed because of the generous officer.
A Viral Post
Brian’s Facebook post became viral almost overnight, and it garnered an impressive 10,000 reactions, thousands of shares, and a thousand comments.
People wanted to know more about Courtney’s story.
According to one commenter, “What a wonderful thing to do, this story warms my heart. I’ve always respected police officers.”
However, the post achieved more than just shattering misconceptions about police officers…
Help Pouring In
Since her father’s post became viral, people from around the world have contacted Courtney.
A lot of people called the Lamp Post Diner so that they could contact her. Most people wanted to donate money in order to help her out.
A Helping Hand
Manager Victor Sierra said, “They wanna know if they can help her because it’s the first child,” and he added, “It’s the gesture about somebody helping somebody else.”
However, did Courtney manage to thank the police officer in person?
The generous mystery officer chose to stay anonymous. It seems that simply knowing he helped Courtney when she was in need was enough for him.
Would this be enough for Courtney or did she seek more?
Respecting His Wishes
However, Courtney and her dad wanted to show their appreciation. They wondered how they could do that when they didn’t know the officer’s identity.
They wanted to respect his wishes, but they also wanted him to be recognized.
Showing Their Gratitude
They decided to show their gratitude the only way that they knew how.
The father and daughter duo went to the Voorhees Police Department and brought boxes of donuts for the whole team!
The Voorhees Police took to Twitter to say their own thanks and wrote, “Thanks to Brian Cadigan & Courtney English for bringing in treats for our staff this morning.”
They also promised that the anonymous officer would be told personally that both Courtney and Brian were forever grateful.
A Baby Girl
But that’s not the end of this story…are you thinking about Courtney’s baby and what ever happened?
Well, she gave birth to a beautiful healthy baby girl! If that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s another twist to the story.
A Beautiful Life
Courtney’s ex-boyfriend and the baby’s daddy is back in the picture!
The couple made amends just before their beautiful girl was born, and boy are we glad. They can now begin their beautiful life together as a family.
Love All Around
Baby Kayleigh Ann was born on April 6th at 7 pounds 3 ounces. She was brought into the world with tons of love and a loving mother and father who would always look after her.
What a lucky little girl!
And we’re glad to say that Courtney is thriving as a new mother! Just as she was a great waitress, she has carried over her hard work and dedication to parenting.
For now, she’s taken a break from the diner, though.
Stepping Away From The Hustle
Not because of anything in particular, just because she wanted to focus on her little girl and take a break from the constant hustle.
Her little one can’t express her gratitude now, but we bet one day, she will!
Although she’s stepped away from the diner, for now, Courtney will never forget her experience that one day.
Although $100 doesn’t go too far with a newborn, the kindness and thought alone is worth millions.
Put A Smile On Her Face
Courtney was having a rather rough day when she received the $100 tip.
It not only put a smile on her face but also eased her nerves a bit about having a baby and all of the financial burdens involved.
Always Be Kind
You never know when someone is feeling down, so helping people out here and there could potentially make their day.
On the flip side, being mean to someone could potentially ruin their day if they’re already fragile. We always need to keep this in mind!
And don’t assume it won’t happen to you, that’s what Courtney thought, and now look! This is a good story for us all to take notes from.
Even if $100 isn’t doable for all of us, even $5 to someone in need is an amazing gift.
Even $5 or $10 extra would have brightened Courtney’s day! There are so many people out there in need that we can always lend a helping hand to.
We should also mention that charity doesn’t always have to be in money, it can also be your time and service.
Warmed People’s Hearts
Courtney appeared on numerous news channels after receiving the generous tip.
The world was enthralled with the story and the act of kindness this police officer did for a mom-to-be. It warmed the hearts of many Americans.
Courtney was thrilled that her diner got some good publicity and that the police officer and his squad did as well.
She was also glad to know that the story touched so many people. She wasn’t alone!
As A Working Mom
Courtney hoped people were able to see how much it meant to her as a working mom and as a waitress.
It is known that wait-staff are often stiffed, so it means a lot when the opposite happens for a change.
She also hoped women saw the story and felt more confident to work while pregnant. Courtney believes it is totally normal and natural for a mom to want to work and support her family.
She hopes she has helped women around the country who are expecting or planning for kids in the future.
Courtney hopes her daily actions show her baby that she can also be whoever she wants to be when she grows up.
When Kayleigh Ann is a bit older, Courtney plans to sit her down and teach her all about hard work, dedication, and most importantly, kindness.
A Friendly Atmosphere
Courtney’s fiance was also thankful for the kindness shown to his lady and their baby on the way.
It made him glad she worked in such a warm, friendly environment with good people.
The Best Idea
Courtney hopes to get back to her happy place soon, but for now, she’s enjoying spending time with her family and watching her beautiful baby girl grow up.
Courtney knew saving up before she gave birth was the right thing to do!
Just Like Mom And Dad
Baby Kayleigh Ann is so lucky to grow up with such inspiring and hard-working parents. We think that kids who see their parents work hard pays off for them in the long run.
We bet she’ll grow up to be motivated just like her parents!
We’re also happy to see that the family dog and little Kayleigh Ann are getting along quite well.
They both look very excited to be getting their picture taken! How adorable are Kayleigh’s purple bow and matching socks?
Kayleigh enjoys watching movies with her dad after her nighttime milk.
They look quite cozy resting together, don’t you think? It seems like these two have a great relationship already! We think Kayleigh is a daddy’s girl for sure!
She also likes to hang out with her mom and check out what games she’s playing on her smartphone.
Courtney often finds baby videos on Youtube that Kayleigh likes to watch. Whatever they do, these two do it together!
Kayleigh is also blessed to have such a caring godmother who is the sister of Courtney. Hailey is Kayleigh’s younger sister, and she’s so excited to be a very important person in little Kayleigh’s life.
Look at all these influencers this lucky girl is surrounded by!
When in doubt, nap it out. Babies need a lot of rest, and so do their parents!
Anyone who has ever had a child knows just how difficult this stage can be. These two look like they’re catching some deep z’s!
That day Courtney was struggling at the diner to make ends meet felt like one of the darkest days.
Thankfully, a kind citizen stepped in and did an incredible act of kindness that brightened her day. She will never forget the police officer or his kind heart.