The Waiter Hero of Houston: Server Defends Child With Down Syndrome, Internet Cheers

At this restaurant, you're not gonna get food if you're gonna be rude.

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Screenshot / NBC News

When a customer at a Houston restaurant made a disparaging crack about a little boy with Down Syndrome, waiter Michael Garcia couldn’t hold back his feelings. He refused to serve the customers and gave them a lesson in manners.

Last week, Kim Castillo was at Laurenzo’s Prime Rib with Milo, her 5-year-old son. The Castillos are regulars at the restaurant, like family to many of the waitstaff, including Garcia. A family sitting nearby, also regulars, asked to be moved from their current booth, which was right next to Milo and his mom.

“Special needs children need to be special somewhere else,” said one of the customers, reported Houston’s KPRC-TV.

That’s when Garcia cracked.

“‘How could you say that?’” Garcia demanded of the customer before they left Laurenzo’s. “‘How could you say that about a beautiful 5-year-old angel?’”

Kim Castillo was touched, but concerned that Garcia might lose his job for refusing to serve the customers.

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“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.”

The restaurant stood by Garcia. The rest of the country did, too: Garcia, who has worked at Laurenzo’s for two years and enthusiastically greets the Castillos whenever they come in, has been lauded as a hero for standing up for Milo. Admirers across the country have flooded the restaurant’s Facebook with appreciative posts, and many have sought out Garcia to thank him in person.

“The business has just been huge,” said Candace Roberts, a server at Laurenzo’s. “People are coming in to shake his hand and eat at our restaurant and loving it.”

One Facebook user, who posted a note of thanks on the restaurant’s page, said she would make a point to eat at Laurenzo’s the next time she was in Houston.

“Thank you for hiring a waiter like Mr Garcia,” she said. “It shows you are people with principles and morals and I salute you.”

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