Headline: 'Do You Need Help?' Restaurant Manager Writes on Sign to 11-Year-Old Boy
Subheadline: A Florida restaurant worker is being hailed a hero after she called the police to alert them of a child who, seated at one of her tables, signaled to her that he was in danger.
A Florida restaurant worker is being hailed a hero after she called the police to alert them of a child who, seated at one of her tables, signaled to her that he was in danger. Flavaine Carvalho, who works at the Mrs. Potato in Orlando says she spotted signs of child abuse after noticing an 11-year-old boy was denied food by his father, ClickOrlando.com reported.
"The man told me that no that was everything ok and the boy was ok and he is going to have his dinner at the night at home," she recalled.
"This was super strange to me."
In the interview with the City of Orlando Police Department, she then goes on to explain the moment she noticed a bruise on the young boys' face.
"I could [see] that he was super quiet and sad."
She proceeded to create a secret sign to ask if the boy was in need of help. She held the sign that read, "do you need help?" behind the young boy's father who could not see the sign.
The young boy nodded.
She quickly called the police, but they were unable to arrest him at the time due to insufficient evidence. But, days later, the step-father was arrested and charged with one count of third-degree child abuse, according to the Orlando Police Department.
The boy was taken to the hospital where he met child protection services. During this time, the boy told Orlando police detectives from the Special Victims Unit about additional abuse. He cited being tied by the ankles and neck with ratchet straps and being hung upside down from a door. He also said he was struck with a wooden broom and handcuffed and tied to a large moving dolly, the Orlando-based news outlet wrote. The boy also said he couldn't eat on a regular basis as a form of punishment.
The father was handed additional charges including three counts of aggravated child abuse and one count of child neglect. The mother was also charged with two counts of child neglect and failure to protect a child, the department wrote.
Detective Erin Lawler called the abuse "torture."
“What this child had gone through like I said, was just torture there’s, there’s no justification for it in any realm," the outlet reported.
A GoFundMe page has been created to honor the efforts of the restaurant manager who police say did the right thing.
“You saved the boy’s life,” the business owner told Carvalho, according to the Orlando-based outlet. “It brings us to tears to think that someone can do that to a child.”