My VIP for this week is Jordan Cooper, an unassuming waitress at Olive Garden in Paducah, Kentucky. She usually watches her niece and nephew on Sunday nights, but this particular night she was working when a man, woman, and two children came into the restaurant.
After Cooper and her coworkers seated the “family” they noticed something “unusual” about them. Cooper said, “I first walked around to the baby [about one year old]. 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.”
An expectant mother at a nearby table took some photos of another table and “happened” to get pictures of the couple and the two children. Cooper slipped them her telephone number, and they sent the photos to her as soon as they left the restaurant.
Meanwhile, the couple at the table was getting suspicious and tried to pay their bill. Cooper followed them outside, got their license plate number, and called 911. After she was off work and home again, she put a picture of the little girl and the license plate number on Facebook and asked for help in tracking down the parents.
“Her post was shared more than 14,000.” One of Cooper’s friends from childhood, Aaron Caldwell, saw the post and started looking for information. Caldwell is a Metropolis 911 dispatcher and got all the information to find out who the man is. He contacted the police in Paris, Tennessee. Then he went back to digging, this time for information on the woman.
Caldwell learned that the woman lived in Pulaski, Illinois. He called both police departments and received a call from the Paris Police Department about 20 minutes later. They took the children from the home and arrested the couple “on charges of aggravated child abuse and neglect.” The man and the woman each have a bond of $200,000 on them.
Cooper is a hero for noticing that the child needed help and being willing to do something about it. Her friends are assistant heroes, particularly Caldwell who went the extra mile to use his expertise in tracking down the culprits. These heroes surely saved the children from enduring more abuse and neglect, and they are to be commended.