Waiter who refused service to customer becomes Web hero
sually, when a waiter refuses to serve someone at a restaurant, customers complain. In this case, customers cheered.
The waiter in question, Michael Garcia, has been receiving goodwill and friend requests on the restaurant’s Facebook page since word spread that he stood up for a child with special needs.
Garcia, who works at the Houston restaurant Laurenzo's, was waiting on a family, regulars with a 5-year-old child, Milo, who has Down syndrome. The server said that another family at the restaurant commented on Milo’s behavior, which Garcia described as “talking and making little noises." Garcia moved the complaining family to another table, but they were still unhappy. "Special needs children need to be special somewhere else," the father reportedly said.
The waiter then took a stand. He told FoxNews.com that such talk is ignorant and is due to people's fear of the unknown. "My personal feelings took over," he said, leading him to tell the father, "Sir, I won't be able to serve you.” The family left the restaurant.
It didn't take long for the story to get out. The eatery’s Facebook page has received praise from people in Texas and beyond.
Facebook user Tisha Baker wrote, "Thank you so much for speaking up when most just turn away."
Rick Park posted, "Thank you Mr. Garcia, I have a 17 year old son with Down syndrome and I love to hear about people like yourself standing up for people with disabilities."
Stephanie Painter added, "Thank you Michael for standing up for this beautiful little boy! Anyone who has ever come in contact with a child, or adult, with Down's knows how loving and happy they are. Milo is a precious gift from God and so is Michael!"
Outside of Texas, Garcia gained other fans. Sue Pusztai posted, "I wish I lived in Texas so I could eat at your restaurant. I would loved to have met Mr. Garcia and thank him for his compassion and courage."
Grateful mom of Milo, Kim Castillo, added her thanks online the night of the incident on a friend's Facebook page: "Yay for people like Michael ... who not only love (my son) Milo for who he is -- a customer and little boy with Down syndrome, but stand up for him no matter what.”
Tennessee Homecoming King Nominees Give Crown to Another Teen
Three Tennessee homecoming king nominees made a unanimous and touching decision that no matter who won, they would give the crown to a beloved student with a genetic condition.
Students Jesse Cooper, Drew Gibbs and Zeke Grissom were all nominated for homecoming king at Community High School's basketball homecoming ceremony.
The teens got together and decided that the winner would turn over the honor to junior Scotty Maloney, who has Williams Syndrome, a neurological disorder that inhibits learning and speech.
"I've been blessed with so many things," Cooper told ABC News' Nashville affiliate WKRN-TV. "I just wanted Scotty to experience something great in his high school days."
"He's always happy, so he deserves some recognition for who he is," Gibbs said.
Cooper won the popular vote for king, but when the official announcement was made at a Friday ceremony, the principal told the crowd what the nominees had decided to do.
"When they called [Scotty's] name, his eyes got really big and I don't know that he registered exactly what was happening. He knew something was," Maloney's teacher Liz Hestle Gassaway told ABCNews.com. "It was very, very emotional."
The crowd erupted with cheers and Maloney got a long standing ovation, WKRN reported, as he was awarded his "King" medal.
"It was just a ton of emotion from everybody," Grissom told WKRN. "I think I saw Scotty shed a few tears. I know Jesse was pretty emotional. We were all emotional out there on the court."
Maloney is a beloved teen in his school and in the community, Gassaway said.
"Scotty is fabulous. He is a superstar. He knows everybody. There's not one person that Scotty does not know," she said. "To know him and meet him is to love him."
Gassaway believes that the nearly 500-student school in Unionville, Tenn., is "one of the best schools in the world when it comes to dealing with special needs children."
Students like Cooper help out in special needs gym classes and other activities. Gassaway said the boys' gesture toward Maloney sent a greater message.
"We want people to have more empathy towards people, not be scared of people with disabilities," she said. "We want them to embrace them, more like the boys did."
Next year Maloney will get to crown the school's new homecoming king. But for now, he is proudly sporting his medal everywhere he goes.
"He's been wearing his medal around," Gassaway said with a laugh. "He is not here today because he had a doctor's appointment, but I'm sure he has his medal on."