A waiter at a steakhouse in Houston, Texas has won a lot of fans after refusing to serve a customer who made a cruel comment about a special needs child that he didn’t wish to be seated near.
The incident took place at Laurenzo’s, where Michael Garcia has been working for more than two years and enjoys a good rapport with many of his regular customers.
On Wednesday night he greeted two groups of regulars – Kim Castillo and her family, including five-year-old Milo who has Down syndrome, and another group who sat in the adjacent booth.
Not long after Garcia seated the second family they requested to be moved. Garcia duly obliged, until he heard the man say, ‘Special needs children need to be special somewhere else.’
Garcia was thrown by the cruel remark and couldn’t believe that the man had said it in front of his own children. Although worried that he might lose his job, Garcia felt he had to something.
‘It was very disturbing,’ he told ABC13. ‘My personal feelings just took over and I told this man, ‘Sir, I won’t be able to serve you.'”
That family quickly left, but not before Garcia told him: ‘How could you say that? How could you say that about a beautiful five-year-old angel?’
Kim Castillo says she noticed the family leaving, but didn’t think anything else about it until one of Garcia’s co-workers told them what had happened.
She then posted what had happened on Facebook and the story went viral and drew worldwide attention with over 30,000 views. All over the world people applauded the action by Garcia, and also the Restaurant that stood behind the waiter.
Garcia says people from all over the world, including Germany, Australia and Croatia, are calling and sending cards. “People come in to take a picture with me,” said Garcia. “I’m thinking I didn’t do anything we shouldn’t already be doing.”
Garcia has also gotten hundreds of cards, letters, drawings and gifts for him and Milo. On Wednesday, a box with Star Wars t-shirts and toys came in with a handwritten note from Lucas Films.
One group brought in clown balloons crafted to look like super heroes to honor the “everyday hero.”
As folks send in money, gift cards and continue leaving big tips, Garcia says it’s all going to the children. He presented a check for $1,000 to Milo’s school: the Rise School for Children with Down’s Syndrome.
“I couldn’t keep one penny of it,” said Garcia. “It wouldn’t be right. I’ve really taken a look at myself and it’s really changed me.”
Doing the right thing, even in little ways, can become a big thing.
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