Houston, Texas, has hosted a successful annual Buddy Walk
for the past 12 years to raise awareness and money for Down syndrome research, so you wouldn't expect the attitude that caused a local patron at Laurenzo's
to say to waiter Michael Garcia, while Kim Castillo and her down syndrome child, Milo, sat near by, as reported in the Huffington Post
, that, "special needs children need to be special somewhere else.", as reported by Fox News
and ABC news
Publicity and support for Michael Garcia has taken off, Brett Wilkins reports in Digital Journal
, the waiter then risked his job by telling the customer that made the comment he couldn't serve him causing the customer and his family to leave.
Down syndrome is not typically associated with someone that misbehaves in public or has trouble relating to people, as reported by K. Cauldwell at Yahoo
"one of the most striking common traits among a large percentage of people with Down syndrome is a loving and affectionate nature". This comment shouldn't be used to stereo type Down syndrome children or adults though, as more information from research comes available it is known that "People with Down syndrome are perfectly capable of forming all types of relationships with people they encounter in their lives, be it friendship, love or dislike.", stated in ID (Intellectual Disability & Health)
. Surveys show that 99% of people with Down syndrome are happy when asked according to Life Site News
I applaud the Michael Garcia's efforts in risking his job by not serving the other regulars as quoted in 29-95 Restaurants
"Did he just say that in front of his own children?" he said to himself. "I had considered whether or not I would lose my job, but I knew it wasn't right. I could find another job and my guests would follow me. ... I was pissed."
Michael is unintentionally bringing publicity and awareness nationally of the plight of Down Syndrome people everywhere.
The gentleman that made the comment about little Milo is the person, in my opinion, who is devoid of the full range of human emotion that is possible through acceptance and love. His lack of acceptance has allowed the plight of Down syndrome families and people to gain a little national recognition everywhere though, so I thank him also.