By Ashleigh / Dec 9, 2022
Courtney takes a deep breath and rubs her forehead with her arm. She didn’t mind it normally, but now it was simply too much. She had gained a lot of weight throughout the third trimester, and today it was more noticeable.
She walked over to the weird “cop’s” table, which was now empty, with more pain in her knees and back than usual.
Pit In Her Stomach
She started to collect the dishes from the table and looked over at the bill folder lying on the table. She picked it up and opened it. That’s when she saw what was inside.
Immediately, a terrible feeling hit the pit of her stomach. Right then and there, she knew there was no turning back: nothing would ever be the same.
Times Are Hard
Courtney Cadigan worked at the Lamp Post diner as a server. Outgoing, bubbly, and incredibly friendly, she worked hard and picked up any shifts that she possibly could. She was well-known among the diner’s regulars, who always loved seeing her.
But Courtney wasn’t simply a very diligent worker. Recently, something had happened in her life that changed everything for her.
She also happened to be eight months pregnant. Courtney continued to work deep into her pregnancy.
This was because as a mother to be, she knew how important it would be to save as much money as she could to help her through what lay ahead. But Courtney had no idea what was in store for her.
Working at the diner for 7 years, Courtney knew all about her regulars. She could recite their usual orders by heart and often spent time talking shop with them while she went back and forth between tables.
But that wasn’t all. Some regulars had an even closer relationship with Courtney. To some, Courtney was not just a server; she was something else.
Loved By Many
To some people, especially the most senior of the diner’s regulars, Courtney felt like family. She always knew how to make them feel appreciated and cared about.
Some of the regulars were widowed or stranded from their families, and Courtney always knew how to make them smile. But there was also another group of regulars with whom Courtney got along very well.
She was also very friendly with the police officers who came in to eat something before their shifts began.
However, one day an officer she didn’t recognize was sitting at her table. She served him as usual, but when she saw the note he had left her, she was stunned. Nothing like this had ever happened to her before.
The day it happened, Courtney was feeling in a rut; she was starting to worry about whether or not she’d be able to make ends meet. Her due date, April 1st, was getting closer and closer.
As if things weren’t bad enough, she and the father had ended the relationship on a bad note, so she was going into this alone.
These thoughts plagued her, and she was thinking about them when the unfamiliar police officer walked in and sat down in her section.
She shook herself free from these thoughts, grabbed a menu, and went to serve the officer at his table. However, the mom-to-be had no idea what fate had in its books for her that day.
Courtney was no stranger to serving the Voorhees Township Police Department officers when they came in before their shifts. This officer, however, was not someone she recognized and something felt strange.
She shrugged it off as nothing more than her imagination. She naturally treated him no differently than she would any other customer, but she had no idea that this encounter would be like no other.
Wanted: Dangerous Man
As Courtney got out her notepad and pencil and made her way over to the ‘cop’, she noticed a breaking news segment flash on the television hanging idly on the wall.
Her eyes were glued to the television and her ears perked up as the presenter reported that a ‘dangerous’ man was on the loose.
They never gave any more information; all they did was show one picture of the man and give their name, but they didn’t say anything about how dangerous he could be and why.
The presenter just asked people not to approach him. A strange feeling hit the pit of Courtney’s stomach as she saw the mugshot of the dangerous man.
For some reason, the news report made Courtney think of his ex. He was kind of a loose cannon, and only God knew if she would end up seeing his mugshot on the news too one day.
It had been a while since Courtney had heard anything from him, which worried her. And there was a good reason for that.
Despite the way their relationship had ended, Courtney wanted him to be involved with their baby’s life as much as possible.
After all, the kid was his as much as he was hers. And no matter what her ex had done in the past, Courtney knew that a child without a father can easily take the wrong paths in life.
Not A Good Role Model
In a way, she wished he could step up and be there for his future child. But at the same time, she couldn’t shake the feeling that maybe that wouldn’t be the best decision.
After all, her ex wasn’t really a good role model. As a matter of fact, he was far from it, and by a long shot.
Courtney never knew much about the endeavors her ex used to be involved in, and she preferred not to. But she knew that the man was unpredictable and that, unless he cleaned up his act, he wouldn’t be a good father.
And that wasn’t all there was to it. There was something her ex did that Courtney could never forgive.
Courtney knew that he had treated her with far less respect than she deserved, though she tried not to think about it. She wasn’t mean spirited, however, and still wanted him to share in this.
Trying to distract herself from these thoughts, she smiled as she approached the table and asked the officer for his order.
Who Was He?
For some strange reason Courtney couldn’t quite put her finger on, the unknown officer made her feel very uncomfortable.
As she caught a glimmer of his face, under his black hat, she thought she recognized the man. But she couldn’t tell why he seemed so familiar. She didn’t remember having ever seen him in the company of the officers who used to come to the diner.
Did She Know Him?
The more she spoke to him, the more she wondered if she really had seen him before; she even wondered if he was from the area at all.
Perhaps he just didn’t dine out often? However, the officer just sat there with a stoney expression on his face, all while an uneasy feeling crept up Courtney’s spine.
Being friendly, Courtney tried to strike up a conversation by exchanging a few pleasantries and even engaging in some small talk. However, the officer didn’t seem to receive that very well.
No matter what she did the man would simply nod. She watched as his large hands gripped tight onto the menu. What the officer said next left her puzzled.
The officer ended up ordering nothing more than a green salad and a glass of water. That was the most conversation she got from him and the lightest, most frugal order she had in months. “Different strokes,” she thought.
She felt oddly relieved to walk away from the table. However, she could feel his gaze on her as she went to the kitchen.
As Courtney came out of the kitchen, she was surprised to see that the diner had gotten a lot busier while she was busy with the officer’s order.
She could also see that in her section, a couple had taken a seat in the booth right behind the officer. She grabbed a couple of menus and hurried over and introduced herself.
Naturally, the couple immediately noticed the huge baby bump that Courtney had. They also saw how tired she looked from all her long and continuous shifts at the diner.
They raised their concerns for her wellbeing, but Courtney merely shrugged it off and explained the situation. Little did she know something sinister was soon about to happen.
He’s Watching You
“I was telling the people at the table behind him that it was my first baby,” Courtney recalled later, “I was going out of work soon.”
The couple, who had recently given birth to their first child as well, congratulated her warmly before placing their orders, unaware that the ‘cop’ was listening intently to every word.
Courtney didn’t know it, as she was too absorbed by the conversation with the couple and their orders, but the mysterious police officer was listening closely.
And when Courtney brought his salad and turned to serve the other customers needing her attention, he watched her every move. Courtney had no idea what was coming for her.
The mysterious man wolfed down his salad and chugged his glass of water in record time. Then, he raised his hand and asked for the check. Courtney brought it over, and the total came to $9.00.
With the diner becoming busier and busier, Courtney was off again, hurrying to get the diners’ orders out on time. She didn’t notice that the cop had disappeared and his table was now empty. Where did he go?
A Note That Changed Everything
Courtney saw the ‘cop’ had left, and she went over to clear the table and pick up the bill. Opening up the leather folder, she saw that the man had left enough cash to cover his lunch. Then, she saw the note that almost brought her to her knees.
It was scrawled on the bill and was obviously directed at her. Was this some kind of joke? She felt sick to her stomach.
Was This A Joke?
Courtney’s hands started to tremble as she gripped the note from the ‘cop.’ She read the note while hundreds of questions ran through her mind, like an Olympian going for gold. Who was this man? And why did he write this? Courtney stood frozen in her tracks.
With her pregnancy hormones raging and her stunned disbelief at the man, she couldn’t help herself. She ran straight to her manager in tears.
Trying to contain her tears but failing miserably, she burst into the back room. Her boss, who was halfway through eating her lunch, saw her employee distraught and thought something terrible had happened.
Courtney tried to explain but the words couldn’t come out. All she could think about was her baby. She had to get away from here. After a minute, Courtney finally caught her breath and explained everything.
You see, on the bill, the note for Courtney read: “Enjoy ur 1st. You will never forget it.” Beside the note was nine dollars in change. Underneath it was a crisp $100 bill.
The cop had obviously listened in on Courtney’s conversation with the other customers and felt like he had to do something for the mother to be.
“It’s truly a blessing to come across people like him and I’m forever thankful for that,” she told the Gloucester Township Patch.
But once she had recovered, she knew that she had to thank the officer in person. Running out to the parking lot in hopes that he was still there, her heart fell when he was nowhere in sight. How would she find him?
Sharing Her Story
As soon as Courtney’s shift was over and she had arrived back home, she called the Voorhees Township Police Department to try to track the officer down. But not before sharing what had happened to her with her father, Brian.
He was so taken aback by the generous tip that he shared a photo of the note on Facebook. He never was expecting the kind of response it got.
Brian’s Facebook post went viral almost overnight, garnering an incredible 10,000 reactions, a thousand comments, and thousands of shares. People couldn’t get enough of Courtney’s story.
One commenter wrote: “What a wonderful thing to do, this story warms my heart. I’ve always respected police officers.” But did Courtney ever manage to thank the cop in person.
The generous mystery officer opted to stay anonymous after his good deed. Just knowing that he helped Courtney in her time of need was enough recognition for him. But Courtney and her dad still wanted to show their appreciation.
Voorhees Police Department.
But how could they do that if they didn’t know the man’s identity?
In the end, they decided to say thank-you the only way they knew how. They arrived at the Voorhees Police Department bearing boxes of donuts for the entire team! “Thanks to Brian Cadigan & Courtney English for bringing in treats for our staff this morning,” the Voorhees Police wrote on their Twitter account.
They also promised to make sure that the anonymous officer was told personally that Courtney and Brian were eternally grateful.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.