In the realm of work, we’ve all encountered those awkward days, but fortunately, most of us don’t have to face difficult customers. It’s no secret that some customers can display a sense of entitlement, which can significantly dampen our spirits. However, in a restaurant setting, these particular customers found themselves in an uncomfortable situation. The silver lining, though, is that justice was served.
Kim Castillo, accompanied by her son Milo, paid a visit to Laurenzo’s, a well-known restaurant. Milo, who has Down syndrome, was no stranger to the establishment, as the Castillo family were regular patrons.
Undoubtedly, the restaurant’s reputation for exceptional food was one reason the Castillos kept returning. However, there was another crucial factor at play: the remarkably kind-hearted staff. How do I know this? Well, people don’t frequent a place if they don’t appreciate the staff’s demeanor. And there’s another reason, which I’ll reveal shortly.
Milo had become acquainted with the staff over time, fostering a warm bond with the waiters, who were always thrilled to see the young boy, and the feeling was undoubtedly mutual.
Sadly, not everyone within the restaurant that day shared the same level of happiness upon encountering Milo.
Seated at the adjacent booth, a family was enjoying their meal but abruptly chose to relocate upon spotting Milo. Their intention wasn’t to create more space; it was driven by less pleasant motives.
Unbeknownst to them, their conversation during the seat change was overheard by one attentive waiter. And what they uttered without a hint of shame was, “Special needs children need to be special somewhere else.”
Their audacious statement left everyone within earshot appalled. However, the restaurant staff, being compassionate individuals, were deeply affected by these hurtful and discriminatory comments.
The waiter who overheard the family’s offensive remarks was Michael Garcia. Understandably, he was profoundly disturbed by their callousness. In his own words, he poignantly expressed, “That’s akin to saying you can’t come in here because of your skin color.”
In the United States alone, there are approximately 200,000 individuals with Down syndrome. They already face numerous challenges in their lives, and the last thing they need is to endure derogatory and discriminatory comments while simply seeking to enjoy a meal outside, especially as children.
Speaking up against customers can be a risky move, as it entails the potential for repercussions from management who may prioritize preserving business interests by appeasing customers. Many individuals who have worked in the service industry can relate to this delicate situation.
Nevertheless, Michael realized that confronting these individuals would involve personal risk. However, he made the brave choice to stand up for what he believed was right.
With unwavering conviction, he informed the guests that he would not be serving them. In response, the guests threatened to leave if they weren’t accommodated. Without flinching, Michael stood his ground, silently declaring, “So be it.”
In retrospect, Michael acknowledged that he “probably shouldn’t have said that,” referring to the risk he took by making such a decision without explicit approval from the manager.
Yet, I beg to differ. I wholeheartedly believe that Michael made the right choice. Fortunately, his boss shared the same sentiment.
The Laurenzo family, who owned the restaurant, wholeheartedly supported Michael’s courageous action and stood by him. As one person involved