New Castle News

January 28, 2013

Lisa Madras: Uplifted by Down Syndrome story of love, courage

Lisa Madras
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — What simple gesture have you recently witnessed that renewed your hope in humanity?

I didn't see this myself, but I stumbled upon the story on the Internet yesterday, and it brought tears to my eyes: A waiter by the name of Michael Garcia, who works at Laurenzo's Prime Rib in Houston, Texas, refused to serve a family after they made disparaging remarks about a child with Down Syndrome sitting at the next table.

They told the waiter that "special kids should be kept in special places" and asked to be moved to a table farther away. Garcia promptly responded that he was offended by the remark and refused to wait on them.

What's even better is that the restaurant's Facebook page exploded with comments of support for Garcia and his decision.

I really wish I'd been there to see it in person. It seems like I have to try to explain to my own children almost every day why they see people around them acting with prejudice and ignorance, and why it is that people act like that. What are you supposed to say? How do you explain such poor morals and behavior when you don't understand it yourself?

The only real way that I've figured it out is by clinging to the stories you hear about the Michael Garcias of the world, and passing those stories along.

Then you can say, "See that, kids? I may not be able to tell you why that family was so horrible to that child. But I CAN tell you why that waiter was so nice: It's because he has love in his heart, and a brain in his head, and the courage to stand up for what he knows is right. It's because he knows that the only way for good to triumph over evil is to use whatever voice he has to make a difference. It's because he knows that he, too, may never understand the darkness that lives in some people, but that he has a light within himself that he can shine for those who need it."

This is the kind of person who restores my faith in humanity.

One simple gesture at a time.