- (PHOTO:Facebook/Michael Garcia)
A waiter from Houston, Texas earned praise for refusing to serve a customer who insulted a special needs boy.
Michael Garcia could not explain his decision to deny a group of regular customers service last Friday at Laurenzo's. Garcia has been a waiter at the restaurant in downtown Houston for two years.
He was working on Friday when two families came into the restaurant. Members from both families were regulars, including Kim Castillo, whose 5-year-old son suffers from Down syndrome. The families were seated adjacent to each other until the second family decided to trade their seats for a table at the other end of the restaurant.
"So we were sitting there and all of a sudden I noticed that the family across from us got up and moved to the back of the restaurant," Castillo told ABC News. "I thought, I wonder if they're moving because of us?"
Garcia didn't mind the family moving until he overheard one member of the family make a discriminative remark.
"I didn't think much of it," Garcia told the station, "until I heard him say, 'Special needs children need to be special somewhere else.'"
Garcia explained that he reacted immediately, without considering the consequences.
"It was very disturbing," he said. "My personal feelings just took over and I told this man, 'I'm sorry, I can't serve you.'"
Castillo says that she didn't believe her son was being more disturbing than any 5-year-old child might be. She did not find out why the family had left the restaurant until later in the evening. In response, she has expressed her gratitude to the waiter, whom she says does not really know her or her family.
"What went through my mind was that I was just so impressed and felt so good that somebody would stand up for another human being," Castillo told ABC.
Garcia says he has no hard feelings towards the second family and would serve them again if they decided to return.