Server Refuses To Wait On Couple After He Overhears Their Rude Comment About A Loud Little Boy In The Restaurant

People are applauding him for being inclusive and standing up for what's right.

rude customers yell at waiter Rommel Canlas / Shutterstock

A waiter in a Houston, Texas steakhouse drew widespread applause and national media attention for something that usually elicits criticism: refusing to deal with disgruntled customers. That's part of the job of working in food service, of course. But in this case, many felt like it was absolutely the right thing to do.

The server refused to wait on a couple after hearing the way they spoke about a loud child in the restaurant.

Michael Garcia was working his usual shift at Laurenzo's Prime Rib in Houston one night in 2013 when he got a request from a table that he felt he couldn't oblige.


Mom Kim Castillo was dining in the restaurant with her then-five-year-old son Milo. Milo has Down Syndrome, and his condition at the time included speech delays. But that night he was especially talkative, excitedly recounting some new words he'd just learned and talking happily about the birthday he'd just celebrated.

That was, apparently, entirely too much for a family of regular customers seated nearby.


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The couple demanded to be moved away from the little boy and made a cruel and ableist comment while doing so.

The family seated nearby was annoyed by Milo's talking and demanded to be moved to a different table, ending up in Garcia's section. But when he heard a shocking comment from one of the patrons, Garcia couldn't ignore it.

Speaking to a local news station, Garcia recounted that the man sniped, "Special needs children need to be special somewhere else." Garcia and several other employees were horrified by the cruelty of the comment.

“My personal feelings took over, and I told him, ‘I’m not going to be able to serve you, Sir,'" he told Houston NBC affiliate KPRC at the time. "That’s like saying, ‘You can’t come in because you’re a different skin color,'" he said to another local news outlet. And for Garcia, there was only one solution.


Garcia refused to wait on the couple even though they were regular customers and told them they weren't welcome in the restaurant. 

When Garcia informed the family he was refusing to serve them, the man who made the comment said they would leave instead and would never be back to Laurenzo's again after years as regular customers. 

Garcia was unfazed. "I probably shouldn’t have said it," he said, "but I was like, ‘Okay, good.'" And he took the man to task as he left the restaurant, asking "How could you say that about a beautiful 5-year-old angel?’”

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The little boy's mother was deeply grateful for Garcia standing up for what's right, and he was called a 'hero' for doing so.

The little boy's mom told multiple news outlets how much Garcia's willingness to stick his neck out to stand up to the customers' ableist cruelty meant to her. 


"I wouldn’t have expected anyone to do that and risk their job,” Castillo told Houston NBC affiliate KPRC. “I was impressed that somebody would step out of their own comfort level and put their job on the line as well as to stand up for somebody else."

Castillo also claimed that her son wasn't even being disruptive at the time. "Was he loud? Maybe a little," she said, "but honestly, the adults at our table were three times louder than he was." She also said she wouldn't have "thought twice" about moving if the couple had simply asked nicely. 

She was not the only person touched by Garcia's actions, either. His story attracted national media attention, and the owner of Laurenzo's said once people in the local Houston community heard about it, it sent business soaring. "People are coming in to shake his hand and eat at our restaurant and loving it," she said. 


Castillo also said she hopes Garcia's actions will inspire others to “stand up for other people who can’t stand up for themselves" and show them "that it's worth taking the risk." In our times of incredible division, he's set a great example for all of us.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.