A desperate 14-year-old staggered into a restaurant and abandoned her newborn child with strangers and the moment was caught on surveillance and cellphone video.
The alarming incident unfolded Wednesday afternoon at the El Patron Mexican restaurant in Jersey City, New Jersey.
The teenager walked into the restaurant and told the owner at the counter that she had found the baby.
"She looks at me with these really sad, terrified eyes, and she asked me for help," recalled Frankie Aguilar to WCBS-TV.
One of the restaurant customers didn't hesitate to jump in immediately to help the infant.
"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," said Alease Scott to WABC-TV.
Scott is trained in CPR and in first aid. She's also a mother of three children.
"I sat down, I checked the baby's vitals, the heart rate was strong, but the breathing was very labored," Scott said.
The teenager ran out of the restaurant after leaving her baby.
Scott recalls the "sweetest" moment when the baby cried out.
"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 her eyes 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.
Scott's boyfriend, Walter Cocca, became overwhelmed with emotion at the sight. He had also been abandoned as a baby.
"There's been so many incidents where she could have put the baby in a trash can, or left the baby with a stranger that would have done some harm to the baby," said Scott.
Law enforcement officials took the opportunity to remind the public that New Jersey has a Safe Haven law, which allows parents and other guardians to leave newborn babies 30 days and younger at fire stations, police stations, or hospitals.
The teenage mom was later found and police said she and the baby are unharmed. The baby will be put up for adoption. The teenager has not been charged.
Here's a local news video about the incident:
14-Year-Old Girl Desperate For Help Leaves Baby With Strangers At Jersey City Restaurant www.youtube.com