A teenager walked into a restaurant in Jersey City on Wednesday afternoon with a newborn, handed the baby to a customer, and then left. The entire incident at the El Patron restaurant was captured on surveillance video.
The 14-year-old mother walked up to the counter and claimed she found the infant girl. Restaurant owner Frankie Aguilar said the teen handed the baby to a good Samaritan and ran away.
Alease Scott and her boyfriend Walter Cocca were eating lunch when the teen asked for help. Scott didn’t hesitate.
“I said do you mind if I check the baby’s vitals; she readily handed the baby over to me, so my focus went right onto the baby,” Scott said.
The teen mother walked out, leaving Scott with the newborn girl, who still had a portion of the umbilical cord attached. Scott and her boyfriend could tell the baby was having trouble breathing.
Police were called and quickly responded with medical gear and oxygen. Fortunately, Scott is trained in CPR and first aid.
“Once I applied the oxygen mask to the baby, all of a sudden we heard the most beautiful cry, and the baby started moving; she slightly opened up her eyes, and then she closed them, but the sweetest thing was when she got hungry and she was trying to suckle on the oxygen mask, so we knew she was OK after that,” Scott said.
Police found the teen mother and said both she and the baby are doing well. The child will be put up for adoption, and at this point, the 14-year-old is not facing charges.
The family-owned business said they were happy the teenage mom decided to go to their restaurant for help. “And hopefully we as a society become better at just helping one another, especially after COVID,” Aguilar said.
Officials are taking the opportunity to remind everyone that New Jersey has a Safe Haven law that allows parents and guardians to drop off newborns 30 days old and younger at hospitals, police stations, or fire stations.
Scott said she would love to see the baby again, and she and her boyfriend would happily be godparents. “I’m just so happy I was there to help because she just was desperate and didn’t know what to do; she was so young,” Scott said.