When fast food workers at a Pennsylvania restaurant heard cries coming from the customer bathroom, they never could have guessed who was inside.
There, lying all alone, was a newborn baby who was just barely a few hours old. No one thought the infant could survive without parents, but many years later, the helpless newborn went on to do something incredible…
The date was September 15, 1986, and the staff at a Burger King in Allentown, PA were having a pretty normal day until customers and workers alike started hearing something disturbing from the bathroom. They were the clear cries and screams of a newborn baby and when the manager opened the door, that was exactly who he found.
The tiny bundle of joy was so little that it couldn’t have been more than just a few hours old. Yet sadly, the rest of the bathroom was completely empty and the baby’s mother was nowhere to be found…
The mother must have wanted to avoid going to the hospital for some reason. It was clear she must have given birth nearby and then wrapped the newborn in an old sweater, to keep the baby warm. Maybe she did care after all?
Call For Help
The shocked Burger King employee who found the newborn quickly called emergency services when he realized the baby was in grave danger and the mother wasn’t coming back anytime soon. Luckily, when an ambulance arrived on the scene, they told workers the poor infant was alive and healthy…
3 Hours Old
The Burger King staff also learned that the baby they had discovered was a tiny newborn girl who was only about three hours old. From there, authorities could start the search for her parents… even if they didn’t want to be found.
“Right now, we’re the only thing this kid’s got in terms of a family,” one officer said on the scene. And sadly, it was true. Allentown Police Department urged anyone with any information on the abandoned newborn to come forward…
“It’s very important. We have a baby right now who has nobody,” an Allentown police officer said on the news. Next up, the employee who found the baby took police through the scene of the crime and the series of strange events at the Burger King that day.
“I heard a kid was crying in the bathroom so I went in. You know, you don’t expect nothing like that. I don’t know what to say,” the worker said on camera. He went on to explain how he found the newborn girl wrapped up underneath the sink. It was a miracle she had survived such an upsetting ordeal so far from the hospital…
Yet once paramedics were on the scene, they were able to examine the little girl and completely fell in love with her. One EMT on the scene told the news crew, “She is a beautiful baby. She really is.” While another pointed out a heartbreaking truth. “I’m sure whoever gave her up is having a very hard time right now,” they said.
Burger King Baby
Once the story about the poor baby abandoned at a fast food stop broke out and the search for her parents was on, the infant gained nationwide fame. Parents hugged their kids a little tighter that September as people everywhere learned of “The Burger King Baby”, but soon weeks went by without any sign of finding the girl’s parents…
Despite dusting for fingerprints and interviewing countless people in the area for clues, Allentown police had few leads as time went on. Whoever the girl’s mother was, it was very clear she definitely did not want to be revealed or reunited with her child.
As time went on, hope was lost in finding “Burger King Baby’s” biological mom and she was put up for adoption. At least now everyone hoped she would have a better life than if she had stayed with her mother or never have been found at all…
Local couple Brenda and Carl Hollis learned of “Burger King Baby” and adopted her later that year as their own daughter, Katheryn. The Hollis’ were wonderful and loving parents to the tiny newborn and gave her the best life she could possibly have, but when she got older, they knew it was time she learned the truth.
When Katheryn was 12 years old, in 1998, Carl and Brenda felt their daughter was old enough to learn the extent of her adoption story. The Hollises broke the news to Katheryn by giving her a scrapbook filled with photos and newspaper articles about the “Burger King Baby”…
The Hollises knew then that their daughter would always be curious about her birth mother and they were right. “You just wonder where you come from. I would never want to replace my adopted family, but being adopted, a part of you is missing and unless you’ve been adopted, you really just don’t understand that,” she later said on TODAY.
As the years went on and Katheryn grew older, she found herself with a career in the medical field and a new husband. Suddenly, the young woman was 27 and a mother herself, but she never lost the burning desire to find her birth mother…
She knew she needed to do some detective work, so in 2014, Katheryn decided to start in the most obvious place — on social media. She posted a photo of herself with a sign explaining her backstory that read, “Looking for my birth mother… Maybe she will see this. Thank you.”
The photo quickly went viral with over 30,000 people sharing it on Facebook hoping to help Katheryn and finally, her birth mother did see it. Two weeks after seeing the post, Cathy Pochek reached out to Katheryn revealing she was the woman who left her in the Burger King bathroom 27 years earlier — and her reason was just as heartbreaking.
Cathy revealed that she was raped while abroad with her family at 16 years old and became pregnant. Frightened and ashamed, she hid it from her family and hoped the baby would be found and have a better life. Now a mother herself, Katheryn was able to understand her teenage birth mom’s desperate actions and felt grateful for her happy upbringing. Her adoptive parents were also very supportive of Katheryn and Cathy’s new relationship.
Katheryn had a tear-filled encounter with Cathy on the TODAY show, with her mom and dad by her side. They soon realized that they had a lot more than just genes in common. Cathy used to babysit for Katheryn’s husband and both are named Katheryn Ann/Catherine Anne. They also both work as EMT’s and drive identical cars. Katheryn has since kept up a relationship with Cathy and realizes that even though she had a rough start in life, she is very lucky to have two supportive families who love her.