A waitress saved an eleven-year-old boy from his abusers earlier this year by secretly handing him a note asking: "Do you need help?"
Police have said that the Florida waitress, Flavaine Carvalho helped the youngster escape a life-threatening situation when she took action at the Mrs. Potato Restaurant on January 1st of this year.
According to WOFL-TV, Carvalho said that she first noticed something was odd when the family ordered food and everyone ate except for the boy.
When she brought it up, the boy's stepfather Timothy Wilson told her he would eat dinner at home. It was at this point that she noticed the boy had bruises on his face and arms.
"I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows," Carvalho said. "A couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something really wrong."
What we have now come to realize is that Wilson and the boy's mother Kristen Swann were abusing him at home.
Carvalho secretly wrote the note reading "Do you need help? OK" and managed to show the boy without catching the attention of his parents.
He initially shook his head, before signaling "yes" after Carvalho asked again, prompting her to call 911.
In audio released by police, Carvalho can be heard saying: "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 at the restaurant and interviewed the parents and the boy. Eventually, the boy's stepfather, Timothy Wilson, thirty-four, was arrested on a count of third-degree child abuse. The victim's mother, Kristen Swann, thirty-one, was also arrested and charged with 2 counts of child neglect.
The boy was later taken to hospital, where doctors discovered he was covered head to toe in bruises and was a devastating 20lb underweight.
At a press conference, a police spokesperson said: "What this child had gone through, it was torture. Seeing what that eleven-year-old had to go through, it shocks your soul."
The boy has now been taken into the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families, along with his 4-year-old sister who had no noticeable injuries.
"If Ms. Carvalho would not have said something when she saw it, that little boy would probably not be with us much longer," said Special Victims Unit Detective Erin Lawler.
Rafaela Cabede, the owner of Mrs. Potato restaurant, explained to WFTV9 that Carvalho was not meant to be working on New Year's Day and was only there because another server called in sick.
Cabede has launched a GoFundMe to reward her employee, writing: "The outcome of this story was only possible because of her act of kindness, compassion, and how fearlessly she stood up for this child."
You really can't put a price on kindness!