If you ever see something that doesn’t quite look right, you should always raise the alarm.
It’s better to be cautious and wrong than to choose not to help somebody in danger, just because you’re worried about looking silly.
One woman, Flavaine Carvalho, knows that better than anyone.
Flavaine is the owner of Mrs Potato Restaurant in Orlando. She was serving customers on new years’ day when she noticed something odd.
One of the families she was serving had a strange dynamic. The parents weren’t letting their son eat any food. Flaviane approached the table and asked if there was something wrong with the dishes.
But the parents said no – their son would eat his food when he got home.
Flaviane’s original suspicions became stronger, and she knew she needed to do something to help the child.
Speaking in an interview with Today, she recalled:
“They was [sic] not talking to him, they was not playing with him. He was sad and quiet in the corner.”
Looking closer at the boy, Flaviane noticed that he had a cut on his forehead, as well as bruises on his face.
Instead of ignoring the warning signs, she decided to make it her business to help.
In a brave move, she made a sign that read: “Do you need help? OK”.
It was incredibly fortunate that the little boy was sitting in the only seat in the restaurant where Flaviane would be able to signal to him without his parents seeing.
She stood behind his parents and held up the sign – and the boy nodded “yes”.
Immediately, Flaviane called the police. In an extract from the call, she can be heard saying:
“The boy is the one that apparent [sic] is in trouble. I’m super concern [sic] and I don’t know what to do. Can you give me some advice?”
Minutes later, officers from the Orlando Police Department showed up and arrested the parents.
The 11-year-old boy and his younger half-sister were placed in protective custody – and it was all thanks to Flaviane’s decision to seek help.
Timothy Wilson, the boy’s stepfather, has been charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse, while Kirsten Swann the boy’s mother, was charged with two counts of child neglect.
A spokesperson from Orlando Police Department commented on Flaviane’s actions, saying:
“For her to see just the small amount of skin that she did and recognize that something wasn’t right and did something about it is just absolutely a miracle, and there’s no real other way to explain it.”
A fundraiser has since been set up for people to show their gratitude towards Flavaine for her quick thinking.
The fundraiser reads:
“The purpose of this Gofundme is to reward Flaviane for taking a stand and speaking up.
“Kindness is not something that necessarily needs to be rewarded. That being said, any support will always be welcomed and greatly appreciated, especially for someone that works in one of the industries most affected by the pandemic, restaurants.”
So far, more than $45,000 has been raised, hugely surpassing the initial target of $10,000.
By deciding to take action judging by what she saw, Flaviane saved the 11-year-old boy’s life. When detectives got involved in the case they discovered horrific details that the kids were enduring. One incident the young boy described took place after he was unable to do a handstand. As punishment, he was tied up by his ankles to the door and was hung there with the ratchet straps.
Though she insists that the little boy is the brave person in this situation – and she’s not wrong – it still takes guts to interfere with a situation that could be dangerous.
You can watch the inspiring full interview with Flaviane in the video below.
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