Hero Waitress Rescues Boy From Abusive Family Using Secret Sign

By Annie N. in Crime On 20th November 2023

"I knew it that he was afraid," said Flavaine Carvalho when she revisited the story of her saving a young 11-year-old boy who his own parents were clearly abusing.

The young boy walked into a restaurant called Mrs. Potatohead’s in Orlando, Florida with his parents. The first red flag that stood out to Carvalho was when his parents said that he would not be eating with them. 

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He was also wearing a hoodie, a face mask, and glasses which covered his face and skin entirely. Carvalho however noticed a scratch between his eyes and a bruise on his temple.

Alarm bells started ringing in her head and she was determined to separate the young boy from his parents. First, she needed confirmation from the young man.

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She wrote a note that said, “Do you need help?” and showed it to the boy in a way that his parents would not be able to notice.

The boy, presumably afraid just shook his head no. Carvalho continued to ask two more times until he was able to nod yes and she jumped into action.

She called the police who arrived at the scene and arrested the stepfather and mother. 

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Detectives were able to speak to the boy and found that the parents withheld food as punishment, leading him to be 20 pounds underweight. He was also beaten with a back scratcher and broomstick. He was also hung upside down from a doorframe.

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A four-year-old girl was also removed from their home later on but showed no signs of abuse. 

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Detective Erin Lawler said, "To be honest what this child had gone through was torture. There was no justification for it in any realm of the world. I'm a mother and seeing what that 11-year-old had to go through, it shocks your soul."

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Carvalho was applauded for her quick thinking. Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said, "This could have been a homicide situation if she had not have intervened. The lesson here for all of us is to recognize when we see something that isn't right to act on it… This saved the life of a child," 

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The owner of Mrs/ Potatohead's, Rafaela Cabede, said, "We understand that this has to encourage other people that when you see something, say something. We know when we see a situation that is wrong, we know what's the right thing to do. We know that speaking up is the right thing to do. But it takes more than acknowledging it. It takes courage.

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