Heroic Restaurant Manager Rescues 11-Year-Old Boy From Abusive Parents With Hand-Written Note

Photo: YouTube
"Do You Need Help? Ok" sign

If you see something, say something.

That's a motto that most people associate with speaking up once they notice something suspicious, or something that doesn't sit quite right with them.

However, one Florida woman has taken that motto and used it to help rescue an 11-year-old boy from his abusive parents. 

Flavine Carvalho, a restaurant manager at Orlando restaurant Mrs. Potato, grew suspicious about a boy's well-being after noticing his appearance.   

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The incident occured on January 1, when the little boy came into the restaurant with his parents and sat down at a table.

Carvalho immediately went to them to take their order, and that's when she first noticed the bruises on the boy's arms and face.

After observing that the father hadn’t ordered any food for the boy, Carvalho started connecting the dots.

She knew she couldn’t just stand by without trying to help.

Carvalho wrote a note to the boy that said: “Do you need help? Ok,” and showed it to the child while standing behind his parents so they wouldn’t be able to see it.

During a press conference, Carvalho said that she could see “he had a big scratch between his eyebrows. Couple of minutes later, I saw the bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something wrong.”

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After making several attempts to get the boy’s attention, Carvalho said he had finally confirmed that he did in fact need help, and she called the police.

In the 911 call Carvalho made to police, it was revealed that the parents had another child, who is four years old.

"I'm super concerned and I don't know what to do, can you give me some advice? What I can do?" Carvalho is heard asking the dispatcher on the call, which you can listen to below. "The boy is with bruises and he's not eating. The others are eating."

Police immediately arrived on the scene and arrested the boy’s parents, whose names were revealed to be Timothy Wilson and Kristen Swann. The boy was instantly transported to receive medical attention, and that's when the details of his abuse were discovered.

In an interview with Orlando police, the boy described the pain he'd been enduring at home, saying he had "ratchet straps 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." 

Police also stated that he didn't get to eat on a regular basis as punishment.

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Both children that were with Wilson and Swann have been removed from their custody, and are said to be doing “very well, and are very happy right now.”

If it wasn’t for Flavine Carvalho and her immense bravery and willingness to help save a child from an awful situation, that little boy probably wouldn’t be here today.

There are ways to help child abuse victims. Being a child doesn't have to hurt.

Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States. According to the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 28.3 percent of adults report being physically abused as a child, and 10.6 percent of adults report being emotionally abused as a child. Physical abuse of a child is when a parent or caregiver causes any non-accidental physical injury to a child, including striking, kicking, burning, biting, hair pulling, choking, throwing, shoving, whipping, or any other action that injures a child.

Even if the caregiver didn’t mean to cause injury, when the child is injured it is abuse. When a parent or caregiver harms a child’s mental and social development, or causes severe emotional harm, it is considered emotional abuse. While a single incident may be abuse, most often emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior that causes damage over time.

There are many physical and behavioral signs of child abuse in both the child and the parent or caretaker. To learn more about these signs, visit the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline’s website. If you suspect a child you know is being abused physically or emotionally, contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline for more resources at 1-800-4-A-CHILD. 

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Chicago. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.