Fifty-three-year-old Merriett Cox had stopped at the Redliner Bar around noon. He was cut off after one drink.
As WBAY reports, Cox’s extremely intoxicated behavior prompted Wisconsin bar tender Theresa Geitman to call the establishment’s owner for help finding Cox a safe ride home.
According to NBC 26, Cox would not cooperate with the attempts to call him a cab.
Geitman managed to wrangle his keys away when Cox asked the bar owner if he could go to his car. The inebriated man told her he needed to check on “his girl.”
The bartender told WBAY the words left her distraught:
“I couldn’t believe somebody would do that. I was crying and shaking…”
“His girl” referred to the two-month-old baby that had been left in the car for three hours in freezing temperatures, while Cox was inside to having a drink.
That’s when staff called police.
When officers arrived, Cox refused to hand the baby over, until Menasha Police Officer Tony Edwards stepped in.
“He needs cheers to him.” Geitman told NBC 26. “…He went way beyond.”
The officer, and father of four, took the baby and comforted her — even changing her diaper — and feeding her a bottle until paramedics arrived. For Edwards, who has twins around the same age as the baby, the act was second nature. He told NBC 26:
“Right now if a baby cries around here it’s change diapers, stick a bottle in its mouth.”
Cox’s infant was taken to the hospital where she was found to be just fine and later returned to her mother. Menasha Police Chief Tim Styka told WBRC the mother, who had been pulling 12-14 hour days was “crushed, upset, angry, horrified.”
While Edwards has received praise for stepping up, in the form of tending to the baby’s needs, for him it’s just another day on the job. He told NBC 26:
“We don’t want the recognition, we don’t want the notoriety, we just do it cause it’s what’s right to be done. The people I work with they do this every day, just doesn’t get a picture taken.”
According to Fox 11, Cox was arrested and charged with neglecting a child and bail jumping. His bail was set to $1000, and he has been ordered not to enter any establishment in which the sale of alcohol is the primary purpose.
As Police Chief Styka told WBAY, “a lot of people did a lot of really good things, otherwise this could have been a very tragic situation.”