A restaurant manager whose intuition told him a child was in danger received a huge tip for helping save the boy from an abusive home.
Flaviane Carvalho has been hailed as a heroine for moving quickly to intervene at the Mrs. Potato in Orlando, Fla. On New Years Day. The waiter and manager suspected something was wrong when a family of four sat down for a meal and the young boy had nothing order.
Noticing bruises and scratches on the 11-year-old’s face and arms, she quietly gestured to the boy – out of sight of the parents – asking him if he was okay. The child nodded, but she wasn’t convinced. Carvalho tried again, writing “Do you need help? OK” and the boy reported that he had, prompting him to call 911.
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WESH reports that restaurant Ms Potato has since been inundated with support after the story made national headlines, and restaurant owner Rafaela Cabede created a fundraiser to benefit Carvalho to thank her. To date, over $ 38,000 has been raised from 1,100 donors, surpassing an initial goal of $ 10,000 on GoFundMe.
Now the waitress and manager have said she plans to spend some of the windfall on debts accumulated during the coronavirus shutdowns, and also give some to her daughters. Paying forward, Carvalho said she also hopes to start a foundation for children in need.
Local police said the rescued boy was doing well and had already started to gain weight. After his first hospitalization, doctors determined the boy weighed 20 pounds and suffered serious injuries. Police further detailed that the child had been subjected to various forms of abuse, including being forced to surf for 30 minutes at a time. He would be beaten if he failed, they said.
“In the opinion of the principal investigator, this child was destined to be killed,” said a police spokesperson.
There was no evidence of abuse of a 4-year-old girl, who was also dining with the family. Authorities suspect the boy was targeted by his stepfather, Timothy Wilson II, because he is not his biological child.
The Florida Department of Children and Families has since removed the two children from the home of Wilson and Kristen Swann, their mother. Wilson was arrested on suspicion of third-degree child abuse. He was arrested a second time on January 6 and charged with several counts of aggravated child abuse and neglect.
Swann admitted to being aware of the alleged abuse, but did not seek medical attention, authorities said. She faces two counts of child neglect.
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In a new interview, Carvalho said she just did the right thing and called the child the true hero of the story.
“I would like to give the boy a big hug, hug him tight and tell him I’m so proud of him. He was so brave,” Carvalho told the Daily mail Monday. “The little boy was so brave. Not only did he run away, he saved his little sister by standing up to this man. I’m so proud of him. He’s the hero.”
“It was an act of God that he was sitting in the only seat in the restaurant where I could show him the bill without his parents seeing it.”
Louis Casiano of Fox News contributed to this report.