A salute for doing the right thing

I don’t anticipate being in Houston, TX, anytime soon, though it is the place of my birth. However, should I ever make a return visit, I would be honored to meet Michael Garcia and offer him a personal salute.

Michael is a waiter at Laurenzo’s, a restaurant I know absolutely nothing about except that Michael works there. Recently, Michael did an admirable thing—he told a customer he could no longer serve him.

Your immediate response may be to wonder how that’s admirable. Here’s the story so you can decide for yourself.

Michael was serving a family, who have been regulars at the restaurant since it opened. Included in the family is 5-year-old Milo, who has Down syndrome. “Milo wasn’t being bad, he was just talking making little noises,” Michael told FoxNews.com.

However, a customer at a nearby table began making comments about Milo and then got up from his table and moved his family to another table farther away from Milo. The table, though, was still in Michael’s serving section.

Michael said the man continued talking about Milo and said “special needs children need to be special somewhere else.” That was too much for Michael.

“My personal feelings took over because that’s ignorance in my opinion,” he told FoxNews.com, “and I told him, ‘Sir, I won’t be able to serve you.’”

The man and his family left the restaurant.

“Maybe there were other ways I could have handled it, but Milo is such an angel. He is a gift from God as are all special needs children,” Michael said.

Although another food server told the family what had happened, Michael said he did not tell Milo’s family about the incident because he didn’t want to cause them any pain. He saw his action as shielding someone and said he hoped someone would do the same for his family.

The news report says that Micheal’s Facebook page has been inundated with friend requests and messages since the story about his action went viral.

I have not seen anything in the news indicating what Micheal’s employer thought about his action, but I hope that he received commendation or words of support and not reprimand for losing the meals that would have been ordered by the family who walked out.

It is refreshing to read about an act of kindness like this and a person willing to stand up for what he believes is right and proper. Michael’s action came at a cost—his potential tip and income for his employer. While that may not be a high cost, it was one accompanied by risk of even greater loss. Declining to provide service, even when doing so with good cause, always carries with it the possibility of losing one’s job. How much of a cost that would have been to Michael, I have no way of knowing; but, I am confident it would have been far greater than the loss of a tip or one family’s business.

A tip of my cap to you, Michael, and I hope you have an open table if ever I am in Laurenzo’s.

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