Orlando restaurant manager receives outpouring of support after using secret note to help rescue abused boy

A GoFundMe has raised more than $13,000

ORLANDO, Fla. – Support for an Orlando restaurant manager is pouring in from all over one day after she shared her story of how she helped rescue an abused boy.

Flavaine Carvalho said the last 24 hours have been overwhelming.

“People calling me, sending messages, emails, and showing up at the restaurant that I work,” she said.

[RELATED: ‘Do you need help?’ Orlando restaurant manager uses secret sign to help rescue abused boy, police say]

She is the manager of the Mrs. Potato restaurant. She described herself as usually reserved, but now she is in the spotlight after Orlando Police credit her for saving an 11-year-old boy’s life.

Investigators said the victim’s family was eating dinner at Mrs. Potato on New Year’s Day. Carvalho said she wasn’t supposed to be at work, but she was called in.

She said the family arrived right before closing.

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Carvalho said the boy’s parents didn’t order him any food. She said she also saw bruises on his face and arms.

She said she knew something was wrong and she had to do something.

“My only concern and everything that came to my mind on the day was I need to do something to help this boy because clearly something there was something wrong happening,” she said.

She said the family was sitting at the only table in the restaurant that allowed her to write a secret note to show the boy without his parents seeing it.

“I make a sign ask him if he was okay and he nods and said yes. But he didn’t convince me,” Carvalho said. “A couple of minutes later I wrote another sign asking him if he need heeds help. He said yes.”

Carvalho called 911. Police arrived and arrested the boy’s stepfather, Timothy Wilson II. He was charged with one count of third-degree child abuse. Investigators said they were unable to arrest both parents at the restaurant because, at the time, there wasn’t enough evidence.

Days later, authorities arrested both Wison and Kristen Swann. Wilson was arrested on multiple counts of aggravated child abuse and child neglect.

Police said the boy’s mother admitted to knowing about the abuse. She was arrested on two counts of child neglect

Since sharing her story, Carvalho said people from all over have reached out to thank her for her bravery.

The restaurant’s owner, Rafaela Cabede, started a GoFundMe page which has raised more than $13,000 as of Friday afternoon.

“I’ve received so many calls, emails, messages from all over where people wanted to donate, people wanted to reward her in some way,” Cabede said.

Carvalho said it’s not about the donations or the messages. She said it’s about doing what any human being would do.

“To me what I did was something normal, natural so I never thought about that,” Carvalho said. “I’m glad because now the boy is safe and I hope people use this fact to be couraged to step up when someone is in need.”

Police said a trust account has been created in support of the children involved in this abuse case.

Anyone who is interested in donating can do so at:

Cole, Scott and Kissane, P.A. Trust Account

c/o The Northern Trust Company

600 Brickell Avenue, Suite 2400

Miami, Florida 33131

Attn: Michael Villasana

For the benefit of the minor children of Wilson/Swann


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