Dear Michael Garcia,
You are a great waiter and a great person.
My name is Connor Long. I am 18 years old and I have Down syndrome. Without meaning to, you have inspired people across the country by refusing to wait on a family in your restaurant who said negative comments about another family and their child with Down syndrome. Just last week was Martin Luther King Day, on which we are all reminded of his powerful messages. He said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” By drawing a line on bad behavior by people with hard hearts and simply showing love for Milo and his family you stood up for everyone with Down syndrome and special needs.
I would be very sad if I heard anyone speaking about me or anyone else with differing abilities in a negative way. I cannot understand why people say and do things that hurt other people, especially those with disabilities, but what can and should change is that good-hearted people like you take a stand and speak up when it happens. In the face of a hateful comment, you did what Dr. King suggested we must do: shine light where there is darkness and show love where there is hate. You did what you knew was right. You took a position and drew the line on bad behavior, and I thank you for it.
Many people are calling you a “hero.” It is unfortunate that the act of a decent, caring, everyday human being willing to do the right thing is so rare. People with special needs don’t need more heroes, we need more everyday people like you who are willing to do and say what is fair and supportive, simply because it is the right thing to do and needs to be done. That is not a special need– it is an ordinary human need.
I also want thank your restaurant, Laurenzo’s, its owners, managers and staff who backed up your action of kindness and fairness. I hope someday to eat at Laurenzo’s, and if you’re ever in Colorado I promise to serve YOU a steak!
NDSS Colorado DS-Ambassador
National Down Syndrome Society