Orlando police credited Flaviane Carvalho, who manages Mrs. Potato Restaurant, with coming to the 11-year-old boy's aid on New Year's Eve when the child's parents weren't looking.
Carvalho said during a press conference that when the family sat at a table, she noticed that everyone received food except for the boy, which struck her as odd, according to WOFL-TV.
The victim's mother, Kristen Swann, 31, was arrested and charged with two counts of child neglect for allegedly being aware of the abuse and failing to seek medical help for her son.
When the family ordered their meals, they left out one person - an 11-year-old boy.
Orlando Police hailed waitress Carvalho for saving the boy from his alleged abusers.
Carvalho asked the boy if he was all right and he told her he was.
"This was super unusual to me".
The boy was wearing a hoodie, mask and glasses, which covered most of his face, but Carvalho noticed he had a "big scratch between his eye brows", bruising along the side of his face and bruises on his wrist. Then she chose to ask him again in secret.
In an effort to help, she secretly penned a note to the boy that read: "Do you need help? OK".
The boy nodded yes and she called 911. "And this is when he nodded, yes", Carvalho said.
The boy's stepfather Timothy Wilson told her that the boy would eat dinner at home, Carvalho said, before she noticed that the boy had bruises over his face and arms.
Police officers arrived at the restaurant soon after to interview the boy, who said his stepfather had been abusing him in horrific ways.
The boy said he would be punished with exercise, and forced to hold a plank for 30 minutes, and have food withheld.
He said Santa had suggested he be punished, Lawler said, so he was handcuffed to furniture and made to set himself free.
"She stepped up to help rescue a child she had never met", Orlando, Fla., police wrote on * a href="https://www.facebook.com/OrlandoPolice/posts/10157950882465878?__tn__=%2CO*F" rel="noopener" *Facebook.
"He said ratchet straps were tied around his ankles and neck, and he was hung upside down from a door", Lawler explained.
"I am a mother, I have children of my own and to know that another child went through that, it was very gut-wrenching", Lawler told the media.
Wilson and Swann were both booked in the Orange County Jail.
Wilson was subsequently charged with child abuse. She faces two counts of child neglect.
The boy and another 4-year-old child have been removed from the home and are now in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families. Investigators said they were unable to arrest both parents at the restaurant because, at the time, there wasn't enough evidence.
Concerned, Carvalho knew she had to do something.