Waitress Takes A ‘Secret’ Photo Of Man With ‘Black & Blue’ Baby — ‘She Looked At Me With A Face That Said Help’

She couldn't overlook the expression on the girl's little face.

Woman who reported abusive parents Paris Police Department & Jordan Cooper/Facebook

As the saying goes, if you see something, say something, and never is that more vital than when it comes to protecting kids. With over 600,000 children abused in the United States every year, it’s important that we be vigilant about spotting and reporting suspected cases.

In 2019, A 21-year-old waitress at an Illinois Olive Garden restaurant named Jordan Cooper did just that when she noticed a toddler "covered in bruises" at one of the tables she was serving. The 20-month-old girl was sitting in a high chair and was accompanied by a man, a woman, and an 11-year-old girl, and initially, a blanket was draped over her head, making her face difficult to see.


The blanket slipped off and Cooper immediately saw black and blue bruises covering the baby's face.

“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,” she told WPSD, via ABC 7 NY.

Cooper, eight months pregnant herself, became very concerned and focused her attention on the family. It seemed to her that the man was being aggressive with the toddler, forcing breadsticks into her mouth and telling her, “You’d better eat this,” while getting in her face.

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As the girl whimpered, the server was heartbroken and began making her co-workers aware of the situation. One of them was taking a picture of a group at another table and made it a point to capture that family in the process. Cooper said, “My colleague zoomed in on the family and asked her customers to text us the photos. It was a team effort.”

When Cooper saw the man take the little girl to the bathroom for a third time without a diaper bag, she could no longer bite her tongue and confronted him asking what he was up to. This raised alarm for him, and he returned to the table and asked for the check before leaving the restaurant and speeding away in his car, but not before the pregnant waitress ran outside and wrote down his license plate number.

Cooper contacted the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), according to Yahoo, but wanted to do more to potentially save an endangered child.


She took to her Facebook page and shared the encounter. Coincidentally, a 911 operator named Aaron Caldwell saw the message and relayed the information to the Paris Police Department in Tennessee, the address to which the fleeing vehicle was registered.

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It turned out Cooper’s intuition was right and the little girl was being abused.

The parents, now identified as 33-year-old Mark Lee Pierce and 36-year-old Jessica Woodworth, were taken into custody for aggravated child abuse. Sadly, when the police entered the home, they found the baby asleep in a bedroom with bruises on her face, and in her hairline. She was rushed to the hospital and checked out before she and the 11-year-old were picked up by the Department of Children’s Services (DCS).

Cooper is now being called a hero for her instinctive actions. “I couldn’t sleep that night. I was so worried. It makes me feel good to know these children will be better off. My heart can now be at rest. Thank you to everyone who helped me find these terrible people!”


There is no information as to whether the charges stuck and what the couple might have been sentenced with. Hopefully, the two girls are in a safe place where they can grow and flourish.

If you happen to be in a position to witness child abuse, remember that you have an obligation to report it to local authorities or you could risk facing charges yourself if in a state that has mandatory reporting. But more importantly, we all have a moral obligation to protect those that cannot protect themselves.

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NyRee Ausler is a writer from Seattle, Washington. She covers lifestyle and human-interest stories that share the readers can relate to and that bring social issues to the forefront for discussion.