HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A waiter at a restaurant near downtown took a stand for a special needs child. Now, support is flowing in from all over, thanking the waiter and the restaurant, Laurenzo's on Washington.
The waiter has been working at the restaurant for about two years, and the family members at the heart of the story have been regular customers about the same length of time. But it's what took place two days ago that has a lot of people talking.
Michael Garcia loves serving his customers. On Wednesday night he greeted two groups of regulars -- Kim Castillo and her family, and another group who sat in the adjacent booth.
"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 said. "I thought, I wonder if they're moving because of us?"
The Castillo group included five-year-old Milo, who has Down syndrome. But neither Milo's mom Kim nor Garcia could have imagined why the other family moved.
Garcia recalled, "I didn't think much of it until I heard him say, 'Special needs children need to be special somewhere else.'"
After hearing that, Garcia just reacted.
"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.'"
That family quickly left. But it wasn't until later in the evening that the Castillo family found out that their waiter had stood up for their son.
Kim Castillo said, "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."
Garcia said, "It upset me because he's a five-year-old little boy. He's an angel. He's precious!"
Since then support has poured in, from the Internet and from regular customers.
Customer Bill Baker said, "I think he did the right thing -- there's the door."
And most of all, he earned the thanks of a grateful Castillo family.
Kim said, "He's good in our book!"
Garcia says if the other customers return, he will serve them just like anyone else. As for the Castillo family, they plan to remain loyal customers.