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A quick-thinking waitress comes to the aid of a boy with bruises at her table

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 12:17 PM CST
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ORLANDO (WESH/CNN) - A waitress is credited with saving a child from an abusive situation.

She managed to secretly communicate with the 11-year-old after his caregivers refused to order him food.

A warning: Some details of this story are difficult to hear.

Flavaine Carvalho knew the boy at her table needed help, but she had no clue that, in essence, she was about to save his life.

“I start thinking, ‘What can I do, and what I should do?’” she said.

It was New Year’s Day. The 11-year-old came into a restaurant with a 4-year-old girl and a couple, Kristen Swann and Timothy Wilson.

The restaurant, Mrs. Potato in Orlando, is a popular foodie spot.

The owner says the boy sat here up against the wall, back to the door. There were two children, but the couple only ordered one kids meal.

When asked if he needed one, they said no, he’s going to eat at home. They also declined an offer to get the boy water.

Carvalho looked closer and could see bruises on the boy’s face and arms.

She made a sign: “Do you need help” and stood behind the couple so they could not see her.

“That’s when he nodded yes,” she said. So she called police.

Detectives said what they learned about the boy’s life could only be described as torture.

Police said Wilson tied the boy’s ankles and wrists with strips and hung him upside-down from a door.

For Christmas, “Santa suggested he be punished. He was handcuffed to a furniture dolly with his hands behind his back,” Orlando Police Detective Erin Lawler said.

Both Wilson and Swann are facing charges: Swann with two counts of child neglect and Wilson with aggravated child abuse.

Carvalho said she’s not the hero, the boy is.

“I would like to give him a big hug and tell him I am so proud of him.” she said.

Both the boy and the 4-year-old girl were placed with the Florida Department of Children and Families. Investigators say there’s no evidence of physical abuse to the girl.

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