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Waiter refuses to serve customers who insulted special needs child
January 18, 2013 at 10:24 PM

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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. 

Bravo to this man!!!

Replies

  • kam013
    by kam013
    January 18, 2013 at 10:32 PM
    Having spent many years watching people gawk at my Nephew/Godson I am so grateful to this man for being a wonderful human being. We need so many more people like him.
  • keriley1
    January 18, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    Thats a horrible thing to say. They should have served them and spit in their food.

  • Ziva65
    by Ziva65
    January 18, 2013 at 10:49 PM
    What the waiter did took a lot of guts. He risked his job and the restaurants reputation.



    Given that, he did what he felt was morally right. I think though there might have been a better way to handle the situation, but not ignore it either. We teach our employees to treat every customer respectfully,even when they are rude. While he was defending one customer, he wasn't kind to the others. Not so sure that's his job.
  • funnymommy71
    January 18, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    Applause and high fives all around for Michael!!! 

  • glitterteaz
    January 18, 2013 at 11:02 PM

    they have a right to refuse service to anyone

    Quoting Ziva65:

    What the waiter did took a lot of guts. He risked his job and the restaurants reputation.



    Given that, he did what he felt was morally right. I think though there might have been a better way to handle the situation, but not ignore it either. We teach our employees to treat every customer respectfully,even when they are rude. While he was defending one customer, he wasn't kind to the others. Not so sure that's his job.


  • wickedfiress
    January 18, 2013 at 11:07 PM


    Quoting Ziva65:

    What the waiter did took a lot of guts. He risked his job and the restaurants reputation.



    Given that, he did what he felt was morally right. I think though there might have been a better way to handle the situation, but not ignore it either. We teach our employees to treat every customer respectfully,even when they are rude. While he was defending one customer, he wasn't kind to the others. Not so sure that's his job.

    Saying "I'm sorry, I can't serve you." is rude? How? 

  • candlegal
    January 18, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Good for him for doing the right thing

  • Ziva65
    by Ziva65
    January 18, 2013 at 11:13 PM
    I agree, I would though have handled it differently.
    Still direct though. I don't know the type of restaurant, nor do I know if be spoke for the restaurant. I would have also let it have been handled by the most senior person. Perhaps that was the waiter, idk.


    Quoting glitterteaz:

    they have a right to refuse service to anyone

    Quoting Ziva65:

    What the waiter did took a lot of guts. He risked his job and the restaurants reputation.





    Given that, he did what he felt was morally right. I think though there might have been a better way to handle the situation, but not ignore it either. We teach our employees to treat every customer respectfully,even when they are rude. While he was defending one customer, he wasn't kind to the others. Not so sure that's his job.



  • SEEKEROFSHELLS
    January 18, 2013 at 11:18 PM

     Wow! My son is great in restaurants! Oh he loves to squeeze the lime wedges on the chips ( we request lime wedges) before we salt them. He has been eating out since he was little. Oh that little guy can eat hotter salsa then his older brother. Good for the waiter! People are so uneducated about Downs Syndrome, or the disabled in general. Gosh, high five to the waiter and his employer that backed him!

  • Ziva65
    by Ziva65
    January 18, 2013 at 11:22 PM
    I would have had the employee explain that we honor this family, they are long time customers. We are sorry you felt the need to move. Please know that all of our customers are valuable. If you are uncomfortable here, you are free to leave.

    As I said, I'd be direct, but more polite. We've encountered these situations many times, politely yet directly most often ends up with more compassion, and often an apology.


    Quoting wickedfiress:


    Quoting Ziva65:

    What the waiter did took a lot of guts. He risked his job and the restaurants reputation.





    Given that, he did what he felt was morally right. I think though there might have been a better way to handle the situation, but not ignore it either. We teach our employees to treat every customer respectfully,even when they are rude. While he was defending one customer, he wasn't kind to the others. Not so sure that's his job.

    Saying "I'm sorry, I can't serve you." is rude? How? 


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