A Houston waiter who refused to serve a customer last week did not lose his job. Instead, Michael Garcia is being celebrated for standing up for a little boy with Down syndrome, with people stopping to shake his hand at the restaurant where regulars are made to feel like part of the family.
One of those regulars, Kim Castillo, was at Laurenzo’s Prime Rib in Houston last week when several waiters stopped by her table. Her 5-year-old son, Milo, who has Down syndrome and whose speech is a little delayed, was showing off his new words and talking about his birthday the week earlier.
A family sitting nearby asked to move away from the Castillo family’s table, and a man in the group made a disparaging remark about Milo.
“I heard the man say, ‘Special needs children need to be special somewhere else,’” Garcia told NBC affiliate KPRC-TV in. “My personal feelings took over, and I told him, ‘I’m not going to be able to serve you, Sir.’”
“‘How could you say that?’” Garcia said he asked the man before he left the restaurant with his party. “‘How could you say that about a beautiful 5-year-old angel?’”
Castillo, who noticed the family move but didn’t hear the remark, was grateful when she later found out what Garcia had done, even more so when she learned that the other family were regular customers as well.
“I was impressed that somebody would step out of their own comfort level and put their job on the line as well as to stand up for somebody else,” she said. “I know Michael did it from his heart, and from reacting to the situation. I don’t think he stopped and thought about what he was doing.”
Of the other family, she said, “It’s sad that they’re ignorant.”
Castillo, 40, wrote in an online post that she has been taking Milo out to eat since he was born, and said her son, her only child with husband Eric, is better behaved than most children and was not misbehaving that night.
- Waiter refuses to serve group he says was discriminatory (wqad.com)
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- Waiter praised for taking stand over Down Syndrome discrimination (wtkr.com)
- Waiter Praised for Taking Stand Over Down Syndrome Discrimination (fox4kc.com)
- Waiter refuses to serve family who insulted special needs child (kdvr.com)
- A waiter stands up for a kid with Down syndrome: props! (lovethatmax.com)
- Texas waiter praised for standing up for child with Down syndrome (myfox8.com)
- Houston waiter refuses to serve customer who insulted Down syndrome boy (foxnews.com)
- Waiter sticks up for special-needs child by refusing service (sfgate.com)