Katie May writes:

I came across an article that reminded me of the ABC Primetime show tilted, What Would You Do? In that show, controversial and difficult scenarios are presented to unsuspecting individuals, whose reactions are videotaped. The show’s host then reveals the fact that the entire scenario was “set up” and conducts an interview with the person about their reaction to the dilemma presented to them.

Unfortunately, what I am reporting on today wasn’t a show; it actually happened, and was reported by www.today.com. The setting was a local steakhouse in Houston, Texas, a restaurant where regulars are treated as family, and newcomers are welcomed with big Texas smiles. Imagine:
You are seated among regular customers and a family sits down next to you with a 5-year-old son, Milo, who has Downs Syndrome. It is clear that many of the waiters know Milo, who chats with them, using his newly developed words, and fills them in on his recent birthday.
You order your dinner from Michael Garcia, one of the waiters who had just been enthusiastically listening to Milo. In fact, you had seen Garcia pick Milo up and carry him to his table!
A few minutes later, the family sitting on the opposite side of Milo asks to be reseated. You overhear the father of the family loudly state, “Special Needs children need to be special somewhere else.”
As the story told on today.com unfolds, Michael Garcia refused to serve the man who made this derogatory and unkind comment. Milo’s mother told reporters that, while at the time she was unaware of what was happening, her son was not being disruptive nor being loud, other than his excited conversation about his 5th birthday party.
I hope that we would all have the courage Michael Garcia showed in standing up to this patron, and risking something as important as his job, for what may seem to have been a rather insignificant occurrence. Milo’s family didn’t even hear the comment; it would have passed with little impact and under everyone’s radar if Michael Garcia hadn’t taken a stand. However, because he clearly and publicly expressed his disapproval of an ignorant comment, he has launched a discussion and provided an opportunity to educate us all about the acceptance of children with special needs.
I would like to say, “Thank you, Michael Garcia; thank you for being willing to stand up for your beliefs and for the rights of this child, thereby opening this line of discussion within my community.” Sometimes, as in this case, seemingly insignificant situations within the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives give us the opportunity to define who we are and what we believe in.
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