This note first appeared on a friend’s Facebook page. She shared it with me with and I reached out to Kim Castillo, who gave me enthusiastic permission to share it with Whine & Dine readers.
“Tonight was a first. Dinner at Laurenzo's and a family of 4 asked to be moved from the booth next to us. I didn't think that much about it but shortly after they left the restaurant entirely, glancing at our table as they left (thought I was being paranoid). As it turns out they told the waiter, ‘special needs kids should be kept in special places.’ The waiter promptly told them he was offended by their comment and refused to serve them. Yay for people like Michael, Candace and Eric at Laurenzo's (also waiters who everyone should go tip heavily) who not only love (my son) Milo for who he is -- a customer and little boy with Down syndrome, but stand up for him no matter what.”
No surprise that the restaurant is getting a little love on Facebook today.
UPDATED 11 a.m., Jan. 18: Castillo contacted Whine + Dine after reading some of the comments. She wanted to clarify a few things:
"If I had known the story would carry this much impact I would probably have provided a bit more information. So here is a little background.
"We have been taking Milo out to restaurants since he was born. On the whole, he acts better than most typical children. He has an Ipad and can navigate through his apps and movies basically all on his own. Wednesday night we had just sat down maybe 10 minutes before the other family came in. We had not been in for a few weeks so all the waiters were coming to say hi to Milo. He was responding to them, telling them how old he is (just had a birthday) etc. We, adults, were encouraging Milo to say hi and show off some of his new vocabulary. Was he loud? Maybe a little in the moment, but honestly, the adults at our table were 3x louder than he was.
"If he had been obnoxious, which like any other 5 year old he can be, I wouldn’t have thought twice about the family asking to move. No one wants to sit next to a loud, disruptive child but it had nothing to do with him having special needs. He is just a kid and shouldn’t be discriminated against. He certainly didn’t ask to be born with Down’s syndrome."
UPDATED 4:30 p.m., Jan. 18: Michael Garcia has been a waiter for two-and-a-half years at Laurenzo's and says the family he refused to serve were regulars at the restaurant.
"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."
Laurenzo's Prime Rib: 4412 Washington, 713-880-5111