A waitress in Florida has been hailed as a hero after she saved an 11-year-old boy from his abusive parents.
Police officers said Flavaine Carvalho’s actions helped the boy escape from a life-threatening situation when she discreetly passed him a note during a meal.
The kindhearted woman said in a press conference that when the family sat at their table, everyone received meals except for the child.
Timothy Wilson, the boy’s stepfather, told the waitress that the 11-year-old would just eat dinner at home, Carvalho recalled.
She then noticed that the child had bruises all over his arms and face.
“I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows,” she said. “A couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something really wrong.”
According to reports, Wilson and the boy’s mother Kristen Swann were abusing the boy at home.
Carvalho wrote a note reading ‘Do you need help? OK’ and secretly passed it to the boy, who initially refused by shaking his head before giving a nod after the waitress’ second attempt.
In audio from her 911 call, Carvalho says: “I’m super concerned and I don’t know what to do, can you give me some advice? What I can do?
“The boy is with bruises and he’s not eating. The others are eating.”
Officers arrived on the scene and questioned the parents and the boy, who winced in pain when he was asked to roll up his sleeves.
Wilson, 35, has been charged with multiple counts of aggravated child abuse and child neglect, while Swann, 31, was charged with two counts of child neglect and failing to seek medical help for her child.
The young boy was rushed to a hospital where doctors discovered that he had extensive bruising covering most of his body.
Police said that the parents subjected the boy to various forms of abuse, including tying him up with ratchet straps, hanging him upside down, beating him with a wooden broom, and forcing him to do 30-minute planks.
“What this child had gone through, it was torture,” a police spokesperson said at a press conference.
“Seeing what that 11-year-old had to go through, it shocks your soul.”
The child was taken to the Florida Department of Children and Families, along with his younger sister.
“If Ms. Carvalho would not have said something when she saw it, that little boy would probably not be with us, much longer,” Special Victims Unit Detective Erin Lawler said.
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