HOUSTON -- A local waiter who got a lot of attention for standing up for a boy with special needs is parlaying that spotlight into something good for special needs children.
It all started at Laurenzo's Restaurant on Washington Avenue three weeks ago after a customer's snarky comment about a 5-year-old with Down syndrome.
Milo and his parents were sitting in a booth. Another family in the next booth got up and moved to the back of the restaurant.
“It was the father who made the comment, ‘special needs children need to be special somewhere else.’ I told him ‘Sir . I won't be able to serve you,’” said waiter Michael Garcia.
Milo’s mother, Kim Castillo, says she was surprised at Garcia's reaction.
“He didn't owe us anything,” Castillo said.
Another server told Castillo what happened, so she posted it on Facebook.
“Next thing you know there was 30,000 views,” she said. “Once in a while, it’s important to stand up for someone else.”
Garcia risked his job by taking a stance.
Legendary former Astros player Craig Biggio eats at Laurenzo's and heard about the story.
“Certain things, at times that are bigger than that,” Biggio said on Wednesday at the restaurant. “I think this is one of those things.”
Fans are applauding Michael’s actions in unique ways.
Garcia says people from all over the world, including Germany, Australia and Croatia, are calling and sending cards.
“People come in to take a picture with me,” said Garcia. “I'm thinking I didn't do anything we shouldn’t already be doing.”
Garcia has also gotten hundreds of cards, letters, drawings and gifts for him and Milo. On Wednesday, a box with Star Wars t-shirts and toys came in with a handwritten note from Lucas Films.
One group brought in clown balloons crafted to look like super heroes to honor the "everyday hero."
As folks send in money, gift cards and continue leaving big tips, Garcia says it’s all going to the children. On Thursday, he will present a check for $1,000 to Milo's school: the Rise School for Children with Down’s Syndrome.
“I couldn't keep one penny of it,” said Garcia. “It wouldn't be right. I’ve really taken a look at myself and it’s really changed me.”
Doing the right thing, even in little ways, can become a big thing.