Even in hard and troubling times—especially in hard and troubling times—good people have a way of making their presence known in our society.
And thank God for that. Thank God for them.
Earlier this month a Good Samaritan food manager and server in Orlando, Florida, stepped out of her safety zone and came to the rescue of a desperate young boy—and quite possibly saved his life.
She didn’t have to do it. She could’ve looked the other way. She could’ve gone about her business. But she chose to stop, look—and do the right thing.
Flavaine Carvalho was serving a family that had come into the Mrs. Potato Restaurant on New Year’s Day in Orlando. All should have been well, but it was not. The waitress, after she took their order and served them their food, very quickly realized that while the two parents and the little girl were eating—the boy, 11 years old—was not.
“I observed that the boy was denied food,” she said.
In a video statement shared a few days ago by the Orlando Police Department, Carvalho further explained, “I asked them if something was wrong with the order because the food for the boy was missing. The man told me that, ‘No, everything was OK,’ and that the boy was OK.” The man, she added, told her that “the boy was going to have his dinner at night at home,” she continued.
This struck Carvalho as extremely odd—and as she looked more closely at the family, she noticed “a really big scratch” between the young boy’s eyebrows.
She said the boy was “super quiet,” and that he seemed “sad.”
Struggling to think of how she could help the child quickly without attracting undue attention from the parents, she scribbled a message to the boy on a piece of paper and held it up to him in a way that the parents could not see. “Are you OK?” her message said.
She said the boy nodded yes.
But she wasn’t convinced. She trusted her instinct.
A few minutes later, she wrote a second message: “Do you need help?”
And “I showed [it to] him, and he nodded his head, ‘yes,’” she said.
That’s when she went in the back of the restaurant and called 911. The police arrived moments later and took over.
The police questioned the parents and the child, and ultimately arrested the man—the boy’s stepfather, it turned out—on a child abuse charge. They took him to the Orange County jail.
The boy was then taken to a hospital for observation—“where the Department of Children and Families made contact,” said a detective. “Additional allegations of abuse” were then made and “the special victims unit” took over.
The father was arrested again on three counts of aggravated child abuse and child neglect—and the mother was arrested on two counts of child neglect.
The boy was found to be 20 pounds underweight and had multiple bruises and indications of severe abuse.
Both young children are now out of that home.
“I’m a mother also and that was very strange to me because you don’t deny food to a kid, especially at a restaurant,” Carvalho said at a press conference this past Thursday, as The New York Post reported. “Thank God the boy is safe now.”
Again, thank the Good Lord that someone spoke up.
Thank goodness an observant, thoughtful waitress came forward when others had not or did not.
Thank goodness for kindness in a world that too often seems cold and uncaring.
Wrote one person on Facebook about this story, “Although my heart breaks for that little boy, I am overjoyed [at] how brave and courageous Flavaine Carvalho was in her actions that day. The little boy is equally courageous. Thank God both of those children are now safe from those monsters.”
“Wonderful story. Praise God!” wrote another person.
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This article was written by Maureen Mackey. She is a writer, editor, and digital content strategist.