Do You Need Help note
twitter | @OrlandoPolice

Restaurant Worker Uses Secret Note To Rescue Boy From Abusive Parents

CW: Child abuse.

We often hear the phrase, "see something, say something" when it comes to witnessing crimes or suspicious activity. But it isn't every day that we hear stories of people taking action when they notice something wrong, and having it all turn out well in the end.

In January of 2021, a restaurant manager was hailed a hero after sending secret notes to a boy she suspected as being a victim of abuse.

In Orlando on New Years, the server noticed something was wrong.

Flaviane Carvalho, manager and server at the Mrs. Potato restaurant in Orlando, was serving a family that had been seated for dinner. Of the four, she noticed one boy hadn't ordered, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

She then noticed injuries on the boy's face.

The boy, 11, was wearing a hoodie, glasses, and a mask that mostly obscured his face, but Carvalho could still see bruises and scratches on his skin.

That's why she decided to send him a note.

Do You Need Help note
twitter | @OrlandoPolice

At first, she held up a card behind his parents' back that read, "Are you okay?" The boy nodded. She held up another note asking, "Do you need help?" to which he nodded again.

She then called the authorities.

A woman holding an iPhone up to her ear.
Unsplash | Taylor Grote

According to Click Orlando, Carvalho called the restaurant owner, and the two agreed she needed to call the police. It didn't take long before the police arrived to the scene.

The boy's stepfather was arrested that night.

Flaviane Carvalho with note
twitter | @OrlandoPolice

Timothy Wilson II, 34, was arrested the same night that Carvalho alerted police, on counts of child abuse and neglect. The boy's mother, Kristen Swann, 31, was arrested days later on counts of child neglect, as police learned she knew about the abuse.

The boy and his 4-year-old sister were removed from the home.

Carvalho and another woman sitting at a table during a police press conference.
youtube | Inside Edition

A trust fund has been set up for the two of them.

Detective Erin Lawler, who was on the scene, recalled, "Abuse I say lightly. It was torture." Carvalho more than likely saved the boy's life.

Rightfully so, she's been hailed a hero.

A graphic showing a woman holding a sign in honour of Child Welfare Recognition Day.
Facebook | Mrs Potato

Carvalho was awarded with a Florida Cabinet proclamation for her actions, and January 28 was designated as Flaviane Carvalho Child Advocacy Day in the state of Florida, Click Orlando reports.

Calls flooded in to the restaurant.

A black rotary phone on a small table.
Unsplash | Sam Loyd

Many people wanted to give their well-wishes to Carvalho, commending her quick actions that saved a boy from abuse. Mrs. Potato received such a high volume of calls, they had to designate one person just to answer them, WFTV 9 reports.

She also set up a GoFundMe for people who wished to send her money.

Flaviane Carvalho during a news press conference.
youtube | Inside Edition

Within a few weeks, people had donated over $40,000 to Carvalho, some of which she planned to use to set up a community outreach foundation.

But to Carvalho, the most important thing is that the boy is okay.

Thanks to the fact that she saw something and said something, Carvalho can rest easy knowing that the boy is recovering, and never has to face that kind of abuse again.

“It just warms my heart that now he has a better chance in life and he’s being treated well and feeling love and being taken care of," she told WFTV.

h/t: Orlando Sentinel, Click Orlando, WFTV