*A brave waitress in Orlando, Florida, is being hailed a hero after she managed to save two children from their abusive parents.
Flavaine Carvalho was working the New Year’s Day shift at the Mrs. Potato restaurant when noticed an 11-year-old boy wasn’t being fed and had visible bruises on his body.
“I just thought I need to do something,” Carvalho told CNN. “I could not see him go away without any help.”
The quick-thinking waitress held up notes behind the child’s stepfather and mother, asking if he needed help, and he nodded. At that point, Carvalho called the authorities.
“One of the kids is with a lot of bruises on his arms and on his face and the parent is not giving food for him but is giving to the other kids that are with them,” she explained to a dispatcher, per CNN. “I’m super concerned and I don’t know what to do. Can you give me some advice?”
Police arrived at the restaurant and interviewed the children and their family. The boy’s stepfather, Thomas Wilson II, was arrested on charges of neglect and aggravated child abuse. The child’s mother, identified as Kristen Swann, told investigators she knew about the abuse. She was also arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect.
Detective Erin Lawler with the Orlando Police Department’s Special Victims Unit reported during a press conference that the boy suffered horrific abuse, per heavy.com. Lawler said the boy told officers “ratchet straps were tied around his ankles and neck, and he was hung upside down from a door.”
“He said he was hit with a wooden broom, and handcuffed and tied to a large moving dolly. He also said he didn’t get to eat on a regular basis as punishment.”
Lawler said, “If Ms. Carvalho would not have said something when she saw it, that little boy would probably not be with us, much longer.”
The boy and the couple’s 4-year-old child were placed in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families, according to the report.
“We probably would have been talking about a potential homicide investigation if she had not intervened when she did,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon shared during the press conference.