This story has been floating around for a few days- I’ve let it kind of settle in my head since I first heard about it…so much to digest in such a small article.
Because I live in Houston, this felt very personal. I have never encountered someone so ignorant and hateful when it comes to a child with Down syndrome, and I pray that I never do. I think that it would crush me. But I am proud to say that this brave waiter stood up to ignorance and it makes me feel empowered to do the same.
Here is the article:
“Published January 19, 2013
A Houston waiter’s Facebook page has been inundated with friend requests and messages after a story of how he stood up for a special needs child went viral.
Michael Garcia, a waiter at Laurenzo’s, was serving a family who have been regulars since the restaurant opened. The family includes 5-year-old Milo, who has Down syndrome.
“Milo wasn’t being bad, he was just talking and making little noises,” Garcia told FoxNews.com. But a customer at a nearby table who was also with his family began making comments about Milo.
The customer got up from the table and moved his family to another table further away from Milo, but still in Garcia’s serving section.
Garcia said the man continued talking about Milo and said, “special needs children need to be special somewhere else.”
“My personal feelings took over because that’s ignorance in my opinion and I told him ‘Sir, I won’t be able to serve you,’” Garcia tells FoxNews.com.
The man and his family got up and left the restaurant, while Milo’s family was unaware of the incident at all.
“Maybe there were other ways I could have handled it, but Milo is such an angel, he is a gift from God as are all special needs children,” Garcia said.
Garcia did not tell Milo’s family of the incident because he didn’t want to cause them any pain. He compared his actions to wanting to shield someone and said he hopes someone would do the same for his family. Another server told Milo’s family what Garcia had done.
“We can’t lose track of what this is about,” Garcia said about the amount of attention the story has gotten.
“It is about Milo, it is about educating ourselves and when people are different, why should you treat them any different?”
“It’s fear of the unknown,” he said.
FoxNews.com’s Alexandria Hein contributed to this report.
It reminded me of the show What Would You Do?, where hidden cameras follow people around who are put in questionable situations….(for example, it’s set up to look like a new mother leaves her infant in the car while she runs into the store quickly)…what will the by-standers do? Who are you when no one is looking?
We would all like to think that we would do what I feel is just and right when no one else is looking. But let’s be honest it’s not always easy to do.
I hope this makes you feel as if you too have the power to make a difference. I fear for the day when I may face a similiar situation and I hope I can be as brave as Michael was.
Local friends, treat yourselves to a meal at Laurenzo’s when Michael Garcia is working (call ahead – 713-880-5111)