A Kentucky waitress noticed something unusual about a family at a table she was serving and immediately took action. It led to a chain of events that saved two children from their allegedly abusive parents.
Jordan Cooper, 21, said she was working a Sunday night shift at Olive Garden when she and her co-workers saw two individuals acting strangely towards their children, reports WPSD.
The expecting mother of two told the station that she normally doesn’t work evenings. However, on this night, she was serving a couple who were dining with an 11-year-old girl and a 20-month-old baby.
Cooper recalled to Yahoo:
“The baby was sitting in a highchair with a blanket over her head. When the blanket came off, her face had a lot of black-and-blue bruises.”
“He shoved breadsticks into her mouth and said, ‘You’d better eat this’ and got in her face while she whimpered.”
Copper told WPSD:
“I first walked around to the baby. She looked at me with a face that said, ‘help.’ […] I can’t even describe to you how bad she looked and how and why nobody noticed it.”
The 8-month-old pregnant waitress and her fellow Olive Garden servers began to secretly photograph the man and woman’s interaction with their children.
When the parents started to suspect that they were being watched, they left. But Cooper was able to take a picture of the couple’s license plate number.
Cooper said when she got home from work she couldn’t shake off the incident, so she created a Facebook post asking for help.
In the message, she claimed that the baby had been severely beaten in the face. A childhood friend, who is a police dispatcher, was able to track down Mark Lee Pierce, 33, and Jessica Woodworth, 36.
In a now-deleted post captured by Yahoo, Cooper wrote:
Tonight working at Paducah Olive Garden, I had a couple that came in with a child that was severely beaten in the face. Her face was black and blue all over. The guy in this picture was force feeding her food down her throat and grabbing her by her shirt and getting in her face…I couldn’t serve because my heart hurt so bad.
Police officers arrested the parents during a welfare check and removed the children from their home in Tennessee after they saw the baby’s bruises. Cooper said:
“I heard the conditions of the home were so horrific, a police officer had to collect himself outside.”
Pierce and Woodworth are being held on child abuse and neglect charges.
Their bond is set for $200,000 each.
The child was sent to the emergency room. Both children are now in the custody of Children’s Services during the ongoing investigation.
STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING AND WATCH THIS: Two people helped save a one year old child from a home Department of Children and Families deemed an abusive home. They did it through one Facebook post in under an hour. Thank you Jordan Cooper and Aaron James Caldwell high school friends turn high school heroes. Full link: https://www.wpsdlocal6.com/2019/03/05/police-charge-parents-with-child-abuse-after-waitress-facebook-post/
Posted by Shamarria Morrison WPSD Local 6 on Tuesday, March 5, 2019