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Courtney English worked at a diner to make ends meet
English, 23, was trying to make ends meat as a waitress at the Lamp Post Diner in Clementon, New Jersey and other various odd jobs.
She was good at her service job, always having a smile on her face when greeting patrons at the diner.
Something else that made English stand out was the fact that she was pregnant.
Some women stop working once they become pregnant — not English. She needed to save money.
She liked working at the diner, although she needed more money
English enjoyed working at Lamp Post because of her customers and regulars. Because of this, her job as a waitress was smooth and comfortable for her. When you’re already under stress from an impending birth, having a chill job is great.
All of her coworkers were very excited for English — and she was excited too!
Working as a waitress doesn’t pay a lot but English needed money where she could get it so she could get all the items necessary for her baby.
English thought her boyfriend was ‘the one’
English’s baby daddy was out of the picture, unfortunately. He left her without any regard for the baby they were bringing into the world.
English had met him at one of her odd jobs and fell in love.
They moved into an apartment together and started to dream about having their own family. Her dad had warned her about being too impulsive but she didn’t heed his warnings.
However, sometimes love fades — it did in this case.
Once she realized he was the wrong man, she was pregnant
It was a few months of living together when her boyfriend showed his true colors. There were dirty deals done dirt cheap at his jobs and was unfaithful. She’d forgiven him after his first indiscretion but he kept messing up.
He was basically everything you don’t want in a relationship.
English had decided she was done with him. But by that time, she discovered she was pregnant with their child.
The discovery led her to telling him about the pregnancy. She was excited and hoped it would be the start of something new.
English moved home with her dad
Alas, it wasn’t. The boyfriend — well, now ex-boyfriend — wasn’t that excited about the baby. In fact, he saw the baby as something that would ruin his plans for life. (His plans were pretty lame, but he thought they were plans nonetheless.)
English realized that he was the wrong man and had to go through with her plans of leaving him for her and the baby’s own good.
With her boyfriend out of the picture, she needed someone to support her. So, she moved in with her dad.
She worked long into her pregnancy
With a baby on the way, and being a single mom, English needed money to support herself and her new family. She worked long into the pregnancy, even though she had her dad’s support.
Usually pregnant women are advised to rest during their third trimester.
However, English was working way far into her pregnancy. She’s planned to only take off for maternity leave at the end of February. (That’s right around the time the big incident with the police officer happened.)
But she didn’t mind the work at the diner
Although the job was sometimes physically demanding, English wasn’t ready to back down from her duties as a waitress. Even though she was in her eighth month, she knew she could afford to stay home now. There was a baby on the way and she really needed those hours!
She didn’t mind the physical work at the diner, despite her April 1 due date looming closer.
There were the customers and co-workers and an overall friendly atmosphere to look forward to whenever she came in for her shift serving food.
The customers even became her friends
Because of English’s friendly disposition, she became friends with not only her coworkers but her customers as well. They could probably tell that she was a hard worker, genuinely kind, and cared deeply about the future of her child.
That’s what happens when you work at the neighborhood diner. People that live and work nearby usually come in for a bite to eat when they’re craving some comfort food. These visits make them regulars and then they might become friends with staffers.
The diner supported her too
Days flew by for the busy mother-to-be but she still couldn’t wait for the due date of April 1. (Hopefully no April Fool’s shenanigans happened …)
The diner’s owners, managers, and employees were all supportive of English. She was a good worker and their friend.
To support her in her mission to make money for her child, they made sure they weren’t giving her tasks that weren’t too physically demanding. Sure, waitressing has you on your feet all day, but they gave her the lighter tasks to do.
Right before she filed for maternity leave, something incredible happened
English worked well late into her pregnancy in February, planning to take off for maternity leave at the end of that month. (Her due date was April 1.)
On one of the last shifts she had before leaving for maternity leave, something happened that would change her life.
English was serving customers some of Lamp Post’s most popular comfort food classics like hamburgers, gyros, salads, and french fries. It was a busy lunch time shift on a Friday afternoon.
A police officer stopped by for lunch on a Friday
He was an officer in the Voorhees police department, just on his break trying to grab a bite to eat. The officer got out of his car and strolled through the parking lot to the diner.
He was give a menu and a seat at his own table.
English walked over to the cop, ready to take his order. Although she had regular customers that had become friends, she didn’t recognize this police officer.
The officer didn’t speak much to English and ordered a salad and glass of water.
While he ate, English talked to other customers
The cop ate his simple salad and drank water while English walked around serving her other customers. She stopped by a group of guests that were gathered at a table near the police officer.
She told them about how her due date was getting closer and closer but that she had to continue working as much as she could. As a single mom-to-be living with her dad, she had to save money to start her own life with her soon-to-be new baby.
The officer asked for his bill
When the police officer finished his salad and water, he asked for the bill. He was in a bit of a rush as he was trying to get back to work.
Knowing this, English quickly grabbed his receipt from the register and brought it him.
The simple lunch had cost him just $8.75.
He paid for his meal, and returned the bill back to English. The officer got up from his table and left after paying.
It was then when English realized what he had done.
One of the cashiers told her he left her a massive tip
“One of the cashiers told me he left me $100 and I started crying,” English told the New York Post February 2019.
If the cop wanted to leave English a typical tip, that would have been around $1.75. (That’s if you’re feeling generous and doling out a 20% tip.)
A tip of $100 is definitely far beyond a 20% tip. It’s likely the cop did this to help English out financially.
English likely burst into tears because she was so touched by the police officer’s action — he was a complete stranger! It’s amazing that he’d want to do this.
She ran out to the parking lot to find him
The police officer had only been gone for a little while, so English ran out (or waddled out as quickly as she could) to the parking lot to see if he was there. Alas, the officer was long gone. He just wanted to do his good dead and leave.
Well and eat his salad as well, I guess.
She returned to the restaurant, failing to find the generous tipper. There was something else that he had done, however, that would touch her heart.
He also left a message
On the receipt where he left a $100 tip for his salad and water, the cop wrote a message to English as well:
“Enjoy your first. You will never forget it.”
There’s not a lot known publicly about the officer (he’s chosen to remain anonymous) but the heartfelt message suggests that the cop himself had had children of his very own.
English realizes how he knew
“He must have overheard my conversation with other customers when I told them that it was my first baby and that I was going out of work soon,” English told the New York Post February 2019.
While the cop was dining on his $8.75 salad and glass of water, English had been telling customers nearby that she was eight months into her pregnancy but still had to work as long as she could to save money for the baby.
This is what her coworkers said
It was one of the cashiers that had told her that the cop had left her a tip of $100. It’s unclear why English herself didn’t notice the massive tip but perhaps the diner is set up like Denny’s is. You know, how you pay for your food at the front where the cashier is.
In The Primary Market’s recounting of English’s tale, the writer says that English’s coworkers were very happy to hear of her massive $100 tip from the police officer.
This is who the cop was
We don’t actually know who this cop was but we do know that he’s a regular at the diner.
“Mark Patete, the manager of the diner, said the officer is a regular customer who works for the Voorhees Township Police Department,” reads a 2019 report on NJ.com.
“If he’s in the area he stops in. Doesn’t say much but a really nice guy,” Patete told NJ.com.
Reporters reached out to the Voorhees police chief who reported back that the cop wanted to be anonymous.
English’s dad was extremely grateful
English reached out to her dad to tell him the news of the whopping $100 tip she received. Like English, Cadigan was also extremely grateful and elated.
In an interview with the New York Post, Cadigan told the publication that the cop’s action was an “amazing gesture.”
Cadigan found that he needed to publicly show the world the kind action that this cop had taken. So, he posted a photograph of the receipt on Facebook with a message expressing his thanks toward the police officer.
Cadigan expressed his feelings via Facebook
“What a wonderful person to not only leave a VERY generous tip, but a lovely message, I don’t know you Mr Police Officer, but you made my little girl cry, and made her year,” Cadigan wrote.
“Thank you, I always had the utmost respect for Officers, but you went above and beyond not just an officer, but a beautiful human being. God Bless,” the Facebook post concludes.
Cadigan’s post shed light on good cops
“It made (Courtney’s) whole year. There’s a lot of bad stuff said about police and here’s one officer who went out of his way to make a generous offer just to say, ‘Hey, it’s your first and enjoy it,’” Cadigan had written in his Facebook post.
It’s true that cops have a terrible reputation (rightly deserved reputations in some cases) but that doesn’t mean that those in the profession are completely incapable of expressing any kind of kindness.
Other people shared their experiences
Cadigan’s heartfelt Facebook post prompted others to write about their own positive experiences with police officers or their gratitude for officers.
“Kudos to you officer what a great way to treat a waitress I know they don’t make much and count on tips, you are a rare breed sir,” wrote Facebook user Cathy Koepke.
“Way to go, our men in Blue are special people,” wrote user Rea Linvill.
“What a nice policeman they help out so many people I’m sure we don’t like getting a ticket however they’re always on our side,” wrote Mari F. D’Amico.
Reporters contacted the police officer’s boss
However, he’d chosen to remain anonymous.
Big-name publications and news stations were able to connect with Brian Cadigan and his daughter Courtney English. They tried to reach out to the cop too.
Despite the potential for the viral fame, the officer remained steadfast in his decision to remain anonymous. He just wanted to help out English during a time in need, not seek 15 minutes of fame.
A true hero, no?
Attrino, Anthony G. NJ Advance Media for NJ.com. “N.J. cop’s $100 tip, touching note for pregnant diner waitress brought her to tears.” February 18, 2019.
Forbrand, Toby. The Primary Market. “A Pregnant Waitress Chased a New Jersey Cop at the Parking Lot – The Reason Why Will Leave You Speechless.” March 5, 2020.
Steinbuch, Yaron. New York Post. “Cop’s $100 tip for pregnant waitress leaves her in tears.” February 18, 2019.