With all the tragedies that seem to be playing out in the world every day, we here at Newsner firmly believe in casting a spotlight on everyday heroes whenever and wherever they show up.
When we're young, the tell-tale signs of a hero are usually a flowing cape, obscene muscle-mass, and an infinite pool of courage. Of course, the real heroes in life hardly ever wear capes. Neither do they walk around with muscle-bound frames, dealing out measures of justice like its candy from a bag.
But that's not to say they lack courage. Anyone doubting that need only look as far as waitress Flavaine Carvalho, who was working the New Year's Day shift at Mrs Potato Restaurant in Orlando in 2021 when she found herself faced with a vitally important decision.
A young boy sat with his family at one of the tables Flavaine was waiting on, and one look at him was enough to raise alarm bells in the waitresses mind. Using all her wit and quick-thinking, Flavaine was able to intervene in a way that people everywhere are now commending…
It seemed a shift like any other for Flavaine Carvalho. The waitress turned up for her shift at Mrs Potato Restaurant in Orlando with no idea how that day was fated to play out.
Yet when she waited on a table of four, her suspicions were quickly aroused. As per reports, Flavaine first believed something to be amiss when the 11-year-old boy sitting at the table was the only one to receive food.
When she repeatedly asked the boy's father, Timothy Wilson II, what the child wanted to eat, she was told only that he would eat at home later. When Flavaine spotted a "big scratch between" the boy's eyebrows, though, something told her that not all might be as it seemed.
At a 2021 press conference, Flavaine explained: "Couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something really wrong."
Desperate to confirm or put to bed her suspicions, Flavaine decided to double check on the 11-year-old's well being. There was a problem, though: how to do so without alerting the boy's parents?
The waitress decided to make a handwritten sign reading: "Do you need help? Ok."
Flavaine stood behind the boy's parents and held up the sign discreetly. The 11-year-old reportedly "nodded" at her, as well as making a "sign with his hands."
Shocked, the waitress now knew she needed to intervene. She called both the owner of the restaurant and then the police, informing them that she was "super concerned".
Following the incident at the restaurant, Timothy, who was actually the boy's stepfather, and the boy's mother, Kristen Swann, were arrested.
Orlando police said in a statement: "[Carvalho] rescued a boy from some dangerous abuse. […] He had all sorts of different stages of bruising so it wasn't like it was just one incident. It was ongoing abuse and torture.
"[…] By saying something when she saw something, Ms. Carvalho displayed courage and care for a child she had never even met before, and we're proud someone like Ms. Carvalho lives and works in our community."
A GoFundMe was established to reward the astute waitress for her actions. It raised in excess of $60,000, and reads:
"The purpose of this GoFundMe is to reward Carvalho 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.
"'Courage is not living without fear, courage is being scared to death and doing the right thing anyway'."
According to reports, a 4-year-old – not reported to have shown signs of abuse – was also removed from the same home as the 11-year-old boy.