Right after the kid sat down at the table with her parents, the waitress could feel that something was wrong. The sad and despaired look on the boy’s eyes was the first thing that called her attention. Then she took a closer look, and what she saw unsettled her to no end.
She spent the next minutes overwhelmed by doubt. Should she do something? Then, when the kid handed her a note, she knew for sure there was only one thing she could do.
Evil can be lurking around every corner of this world. One of the most dangerous things about evil is that it can easily be concealed and overlooked.
But a lot of times, this is so because people decide to ignore it. It can be too tempting to mind one’s own business and not get involved in issues that don’t affect you directly. Fortunately, not everyone in this world acts that way; that is the case with this story’s protagonist.
Today’s story can teach us a lot about what goes on in our communities that, many times, we choose to ignore for the sake of our own convenience.
Its’ protagonist, a woman named Flavaine Carvalho, is one of those people who doesn’t hesitate when she sees something wrong. When you finish reading about what happened to her, you’ll realize that she’s an example from which we can all learn a lot. Let’s get to it.
Flavaine Carvalho works as a waitress in a Mrs. Potato restaurant in St. Petersburg, Florida. In all her years in the service industry, she had seen all sorts of things.
She could tell which customers would be problematic, which of them had something to hide, and which of them were going through something in their personal lives and could use a kind word and some compassion. But nothing ever came close to what she saw on that New Year’s Day.
The day started fairly normal. People in town were still recovering from New Year’s Eve at their homes, so there weren’t a lot of customers in the restaurant.
Only a few regulars had come over to say hello and wish the staff a happy new year. All in all, it was a really quiet day with not much to do, and Flavaine and her coworkers could just relax. Little did she know that, in a matter of minutes, she would become involved in an episode that would change her life forever.
After a while, dinner time approached, and more customers started coming in. Many were still regulars who could use a warm plate after the long celebrations the night before.
But suddenly, at one point in the evening, Flavaine saw some customers she had never seen around before. Feeling curious, she inspected them as they sat at one of the tables, and one thing instantly called her attention.
They were two parents, a man, and a woman, with a kid. Flavaine naturally inferred that he probably was their son. However, what she saw next made her think twice.
There was absolutely no trace of love and affection in the couple’s demeanor. Also, the kid had a sad air around him, like he didn’t really want to be there with them. Immediately, some thoughts started running through Flavaine’s mind.
Could there be something wrong with those three? Flavaine tried to calm her anxieties. It could be anything, really. Maybe the kid had been throwing a tantrum for whatever reason. Who could know for sure?
Trying her best to shut down all her doubts, she walked toward their table to take their order. That’s when she saw it, and her instincts immediately started firing.
The parents just asked for two meals, one for the man and one for the woman. Puzzled, Flavaine asked if the boy wouldn’t have anything to eat. They just answered that he’d have dinner at home.
Things were getting stranger by the minute. Flavaine then looked at the boy’s face; what she saw then made her realize that she had to do something.
The kid’s face was bruised! “I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows,” Flavaine said days later when she talked to the media. “Couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something really wrong.”
Now, with all those signs piling up, she could tell that something needed to be done about it. Were those really the kid’s parents? “I could not see the boy going away without any help,” she said.
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.
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:
“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.
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.