The waitress, Flaviane Carvalho was working at Mrs. Potato in Orlando on New Year’s Day when she noticed that the boy’s parents banned him from eating his food as they enjoyed their own meals.
Feeling concerned if there was something wrong with the child’s dinner, she approached the family at their table to ask if everything was ok.
His mom Kristen Swann, 31, and Timothy Wilson, 34 the boy’s stepfather, told the waitress that everything was fine and that he was going to eat dinner at home instead.
During the interaction, the waitress reportedly noticed bruises and a large scratch on the child’s face.
“I could see a big scratch between his eyebrows. Couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye,” Flaviane told the NZ Herald.
“So I felt there was something really wrong.”
She said then wrote: “Do you need help? OK” on a piece of paper and held it up for him to read as she stood behind his mom and stepfather.
Surprisingly, the boy nodded and the note helped exposed that the boy had been subjected to torture.
According to the waitress, she left the family’s table and called the police, who stormed the restaurant.
Police discovered the boy had been tied up, starved, and beaten by his mother and stepdad.
An Orlando PD spokesman explained: “He said ratchet straps were tied around his ankles and neck, and he was hung upside down from a door.
“He said he was hit with a wooden broom, and handcuffed and tied to a large moving dolly.
“He also said he didn’t get to eat on a regular basis as punishment.”
Wilson was charged with child abuse and Swann with neglect, over claims that she knew about her partner’s abuse on her son but failed to intervene or get medical care for him.
The boy and his four-year-old sister have been taken from the house by child services.
“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 Thursday.
“Thank God the boy is safe now.”
Orlando Police said Flaviane saved the little boy’s life, telling Fox35: “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.”
The owner of Mrs. Potato Head praised her employee for her quick-thinking and for saving the boy’s life.
“We are extremely proud. This has to encourage people that if you see something, say something.”