She Could Tell
The waitress could tell something was wrong when the child sat down with his parents. It wasn’t just the sad look of despair in his eyes that caught her attention. There was something more disturbing.
She struggled with what to do and felt doubt creep in. What should she do? Her doubt vanished when the boy handed her a note.
Evil In Plain Sight
Evil can be hidden in plain sight and is often overlooked. When it is disguised as something else, that is when it becomes most dangerous.
However, people prefer to avoid issues that are not their own and choose not to look deeper. Thankfully, not everyone decides to be that way, and this story speaks of someone who chose to get involved.
This story showcases how we often choose to ignore situations to make things easier for ourselves.
Flavaine Carvalho is someone who isn’t afraid of getting involved when she sees something is wrong. She is an example to us all, someone we can learn from.
Working At Mrs. Potato
Flavaine Carvalho has seen all sorts of things while working in the service industry at a restaurant called Mrs. Potato in St. Petersburg, Florida.
She could read her customers well and tell her problematic customers apart from her easier ones; she knew which of them had something to hide and who were going through something personal and needed some kind words. On New Year’s Day, she faced something entirely different.
A Relaxing Day
The day had started as she’d expected, with few customers in the restaurant with everyone else in town recovering from New Year’s Eve.
The regulars had wished the staff a happy new year, making for a relatively quiet day. Flavaine and her coworkers could relax, but the atmosphere would change in a few minutes.
The dinner crowd started coming in after a while; many regulars were among them, looking for a warm plate of food after the extensive celebrations from the night before.
Flavaine eventually noticed customers she had never seen before and grew curious. Something caught her attention as she watched them find their seats at one of the tables.
It was a family of three – the mom, the dad, and, Flavaine assumed, their son. She questioned her assumption when she saw something else.
This was not a typical family that was visibly loving and affectionate. Flavaine’s head started spinning when she noticed the kid seemed sad and looked like he dreaded being there with his parents.
She wondered if their behavior could be explained. Had the kid had a tantrum before they walked in? But what if it was something more? Flavaine grew anxious but tried to think things through.
As she walked over to take their order, she tried her best to calm down. She knew her instincts were right when she saw it.
He Would Eat At Home
Flavaine was confused when they only ordered two meals and asked if the boy wanted anything to eat. They replied that he’d eat at home.
Things were not adding up for Flavaine. She turned to look at the boy and saw something that made her decision to do something definite.
She Had To Help
Flavaine described how she noticed a big scratch between his eyebrows before she noticed the bruise on the side of his eye. When she spoke to the media, she said something was genuinely wrong.
She knew she couldn’t let it slide when she had put all the signs together. She wasn’t sure if those people were the kid’s parents, but all she knew was that kid needed help.
She Had A Plan
At one point, while their meals were getting prepared, the two adults got up from the table and went outside to smoke. Flavaine quietly walked towards the table and handed the kid a note saying, “Do you need help?” along with a pen.
She came back a few seconds later. The kid had written “OK” in the note, under Flavaine’s question. The waitress nodded at him and instantly set her plan into motion.
She Acted Fast
Instantly, Flavaine went to the kitchen, told one of her colleagues to keep an eye on the “family” and asked to use the restaurant’s phone. Then, she dialed 911. There was nothing else she could do in that situation. Who knew how dangerous those people could be?
The content of that call was recorded and has been recently released to the media. This is what Flavaine can be heard saying to the operator:
Police Steps In
“I’m super concerned, and I don’t know what to do, can you give me some advice?” Flavaine can be heard asking the operator. “The boy is with bruises, and he’s not eating.”
Shortly after, a group of officers made their appearance in the restaurant. They walked through the door and approached the family without hesitation. From that point, it was on. The truth finally came out.
He Wasn’t His Father
The officers instantly took the boy with them and interviewed him. As it turned out, and as Flavaine fairly suspected, the man who was there wasn’t actually his father.
He was his stepfather. The kid alleged that he was abusive to him on a regular basis and often denied him food as a punishment. And that wasn’t even the most horrifying part.
The kid had been subject to endless abuse and mistreatment for months. Immediately, the man and the child’s mother were arrested. They’re currently awaiting trial, and the kid is safe living with a relative.
Only God knows what could have happened if the kind-hearted waitress hadn’t listened to her gut and done the right thing. Many people would have thought that it was none of their business how two parents treat their kid; but not Flavaine. We can all learn from her example.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead are entirely coincidental.