TODAY reports that Garcia, who has waited tables at Laurenzo’s Prime Rib for two years, put his job on the line. Garcia is on friendly terms with regular patron Kim Castillo and her 5-year-old son, Milo, who has Down syndrome.
On a recent outing, Garcia, along with other waiters, reportedly stopped by Milo’s table to hear the kid talk about his birthday and hear some new words he learned (Milo has delayed speech). That’s apparently when somebody at the next table got huffy:
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?’”
The family then decided to leave since they wouldn’t be receiving any service.
Milo’s mother wasn’t inititally aware that Garcia had sacrificed his job to defend her son. But when she heard, she was understandably touched:
“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.”
As word has traveled about the heroic Michael Garcia, particularly on Facebook, the restaurant has apparently seen a boom in customers. Candace Roberts, a server at Laurenzo’s, describes business as “huge” with people wandering in to shake Garcia’s hand.
What goes around definitely comes around.