A pregnant waitress was reduced to tears by an anonymous police officer's stunning bill.

You rarely hear about a police officer making the news for doing his or her job. In the news, “if it bleeds it leads,” so most of the time we hear about officers there has been a terrible tragedy.

That's why this story out of New Jersey is so important.

Courtney English, 23, is nearly eight months pregnant and works on her feet as a waitress at the Lamp Post Diner in Clementon, New Jersey. Although she is unmarried, her father says her boyfriend is supportive, and will play a part in the child’s life.


However, making ends meet is a challenge for English and she intends to take six to eight weeks off work to look after her soon-to-be-born daughter.

On Friday, February 15, a Voorhees Township police officer ate lunch at the diner, and although his bill was only $8.75, he left a $100 tip and a note for English: “Enjoy your first. You will never forget it.”

The wonderful gesture sent English crying to her boss.  

“One of the cashiers told me he left me $100 and I started crying,” she told The New York Post. “He had already left at that point.”

“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 continued.

Her father, Brian Cadigan, posted a photo of the receipt on Facebook along with a touching message.

[facebook https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fphoto.php%3Ffbid%3D10215998520889274%26set%3Da.1763091270503%26type%3D3&width=500 expand=1]

“It made her whole year,” Cadigan told The New York Post. “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,’” he said.

Here’s Cadigan’s entire Facebook post:

You always hear about how Bad the Police are, How They treated you like dirt, how they are on a Power Trip, Yes I am sure there are some bad apples, but most of them are just doing their jobs, they deal with the worst of society every day and have to keep going back everyday and deal with it all over again. They risk their lives each day just to do their job, of trying to enforce the laws that they didn't make.

They are human, and do many good things everyday that most people will never know about, like giving the young mother a warning instead of a ticket, because they know she is struggling, or locking up an abusive spouse, and giving the abused information to get out of the relationship safely.

Or just being a nice person, in a stressful and upsetting situation. They are people, they have feelings, and they have Jobs to do, sometimes they may not like what they have to do, but they do it without question.

Most of the good stuff they do you will never hear about, they don't do it for glory or recognition, they do it because they are good people. And I wrote this post to point out one such act, My Daughter is a waitress at a local diner, she is also 7 months pregnant and working still to save as much money as she can, this will be her first child and she is so excited, she is always cheerful at work, so she has alot of regulars, but this was not one of them, Yesterday she was working the lunch shift when a Voorhees Twp police officer came in, he was pleasant, and had his lunch by himself, and asked for the check. My daughter gave him his check, and moved on to wait other tables, the officer went to the cashier and paid his bill, and left a note on the bill for my Daughter, this officer, who I am sure works his butt off for his paycheck left her a $100 tip on a $9.00 ticket and the note simply said “Enjoy your first, You will never forget it.”

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. 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.
Courtesy of Amita Swadhin
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In 2016, Amita Swadhin, a child of two immigrant parents from India, founded Mirror Memoirs to help combat rape culture. The national storytelling and organizing project is dedicated to sharing the stories of LGBTQIA+ Black, indigenous people, and people of color who survived child sexual abuse.

"Whether or not you are a survivor, 100% of us are raised in rape culture. It's the water that we're swimming in. But just as fish don't know they are in water, because it's just the world around them that they've always been in, people (and especially those who aren't survivors) may need some help actually seeing it," they add.

"Mirror Memoirs attempts to be the dye that helps everyone understand the reality of rape culture."

Amita built the idea for Mirror Memoirs from a theater project called "Undesirable Elements: Secret Survivors" that featured their story and those of four other survivors in New York City, as well as a documentary film and educational toolkit based on the project.

"Secret Survivors had a cast that was gender, race, and age-diverse in many ways, but we had neglected to include transgender women," Amita explains. "Our goal was to help all people who want to co-create a world without child sexual abuse understand that the systems historically meant to help survivors find 'healing' and 'justice' — namely the child welfare system, policing, and prisons — are actually systems that facilitate the rape of children in oppressed communities," Amita continues. "We all have to explore tools of healing and accountability outside of these systems if we truly want to end all forms of sexual violence and rape culture."

Amita also wants Mirror Memoirs to be a place of healing for survivors that have historically been ignored or underserved by anti-violence organizations due to transphobia, homophobia, racism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

Amita Swadhin

"Hearing survivors' stories is absolutely healing for other survivors, since child sexual abuse is a global pandemic that few people know how to talk about, let alone treat and prevent."

"Since sexual violence is an isolating event, girded by shame and stigma, understanding that you're not alone and connecting with other survivors is alchemy, transmuting isolation into intimacy and connection."

This is something that Amita knows and understands well as a survivor herself.

"My childhood included a lot of violence from my father, including rape and other forms of domestic violence," says Amita. "Mandated reporting was imposed on me when I was 13 and it was largely unhelpful since the prosecutors threatened to incarcerate my mother for 'being complicit' in the violence I experienced, even though she was also abused by my father for years."

What helped them during this time was having the support of others.

"I'm grateful to have had a loving younger sister and a few really close friends, some of whom were also surviving child sexual abuse, though we didn't know how to talk about it at the time," Amita says.

"I'm also a queer, non-binary femme person living with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and those identities have shaped a lot of my life experiences," they continue. "I'm really lucky to have an incredible partner and network of friends and family who love me."

"These realizations put me on the path of my life's work to end this violence quite early in life," they said.

Amita wants Mirror Memoirs to help build awareness of just how pervasive rape culture is. "One in four girls and one in six boys will be raped or sexually assaulted by the age of 18," Amita explains, "and the rates are even higher for vulnerable populations, such as gender non-conforming, disabled, deaf, unhoused, and institutionalized children." By sharing their stories, they're hoping to create change.

"Listening to stories is also a powerful way to build empathy, due to the mirror neurons in people's brains. This is, in part, why the project is called Mirror Memoirs."

So far, Mirror Memoirs has created an audio archive of BIPOC LGBTQI+ child sexual abuse survivors sharing their stories of survival and resilience that includes stories from 60 survivors across 50 states. This year, they plan to record another 15 stories, specifically of transgender and nonbinary people who survived child sexual abuse in a sport-related setting, with their partner organization, Athlete Ally.

"This endeavor is in response to the more than 100 bills that have been proposed across at least 36 states in 2021 seeking to limit the rights of transgender and non-binary children to play sports and to receive gender-affirming medical care with the support of their parents and doctors," Amita says.

In 2017, Mirror Memoirs held its first gathering, which was attended by 31 people. Today, the organization is a fiscally sponsored, national nonprofit with two staff members, a board of 10 people, a leadership council of seven people, and 500 members nationally.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, they created a mutual aid fund for the LGBTQIA+ community of color and were able to raise a quarter-million dollars. They received 2,509 applications for assistance, and in the end, they decided to split the money evenly between each applicant.

While they're still using storytelling as the building block of their work, they're also engaging in policy and advocacy work, leadership development, and hosting monthly member meetings online.

For their work, Amita is one of Tory's Burch's Empowered Women. Their donation will go to Mirror Memoirs to help fund production costs for their new theater project, "Transmutation: A Ceremony," featuring four Black transgender, intersex, and non-binary women and femmes who live in California.

"I'm grateful to every single child sexual survivor who has ever disclosed their truth to me," Amita says. "I know another world is possible, and I know survivors will build it, together with all the people who love us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."