“If I had gotten fired, oh well, I would have got another job,” the waiter, Michael Garcia, told the Houston Chronicle about the incident at Laurenzo’s Prime Rib that made headlines around the country. “But what’s right is right.”
Thankfully, Garcia wasn’t fired. And as soon as his story gained national notoriety, well-meaning people began sending him donations and cards.
He could have easily held on to the money, but instead decided to donate the $1,145 he’d received to The Rise School of Houston, where the young boy from the restaurant goes to school.
“I’m giving it to the children because that’s the right thing to do,” he explains. “I will not benefit from this financially; that would be wrong.”
For those coming into the story late, Garcia was working at Laurenzo’s one night in January. A family of four had just been seated in a booth next to one occupied byt the young boy and his mother. The family then asked Garcia if they could be moved to another booth and made the statement that “Special needs kids should be kept in special places.”
Garcia then told the family that he was offended by what had been said and that he would not be serving them.
The young boy’s mom shared her story with the Chronicle’s 29-95.com blog and it spread quickly around the Internet.
The school’s development director, herself a mother of a child with Down Syndrome, applauded Garcia for his actions.
“When you have something like this with someone who had no reason to be kind – he doesn’t have relatives with special needs, he’s not a teacher – but he did it out of a sense of what was right and from his heart, it gives us this hope,” she tells the Chronicle. “Like, OK, if Michael can do that then maybe other people in the world can do that, too.”