Usually, when a waiter refuses to serve someone at a restaurant, customers complain. In this case, customers cheered.
The waiter in question, Michael Garcia, has been receiving goodwill and friend requests on the restaurant’s Facebook page since word spread that he stood up for a child with special needs.
Garcia, who works at the Houston restaurant Laurenzo's, was waiting on a family, regulars with a 5-year-old child, Milo, who has Down syndrome. The server said that another family at the restaurant commented on Milo’s behavior, which Garcia described as “talking and making little noises." Garcia moved the complaining family to another table, but they were still unhappy. "Special needs children need to be special somewhere else," the father reportedly said.
The waiter then took a stand. He told that such talk is ignorant and is due to people's fear of the unknown. "My personal feelings took over," he said, leading him to tell the father, "Sir, I won't be able to serve you.” The family left the restaurant.
It didn't take long for the story to get out. The eatery’s Facebook page has received praise from people in Texas and beyond.
Facebook user Tisha Baker wrote, "Thank you so much for speaking up when most just turn away."
Rick Park posted, "Thank you Mr. Garcia, I have a 17 year old son with Down syndrome and I love to hear about people like yourself standing up for people with disabilities."
Stephanie Painter added, "Thank you Michael for standing up for this beautiful little boy! Anyone who has ever come in contact with a child, or adult, with Down's knows how loving and happy they are. Milo is a precious gift from God and so is Michael!"
Outside of Texas, Garcia gained other fans. Sue Pusztai posted, "I wish I lived in Texas so I could eat at your restaurant. I would loved to have met Mr. Garcia and thank him for his compassion and courage."
Grateful mom of Milo, Kim Castillo, added her thanks online the night of the incident on a friend's Facebook page: "Yay for people like Michael ... who not only love (my son) Milo for who he is -- a customer and little boy with Down syndrome, but stand up for him no matter what.”