I read a story this morning about a man named Michael Garcia, a waiter in Texas, who refused to serve an ignorant
man jerk after he repeatedly insulted a child with Down’s Syndrome, Milo, a five-year-old boy who was dining at a nearby table with his family.
The phrase that the jerk uttered made me sad and angry, “special needs children need to be special somewhere else.”
What’s worse? He said that in front of his own children.
I’ll let that just sink in with you for a moment.
He said that in front of his own children. Not sure of their ages, but after reading that, I cried. I cried because … what kind of ignorance and intolerance is being bred in this society, huh? I thought we had progressed as a people. I had more faith in humanity. It’s so disappointing to read about such cruelty enacted toward another human being, by an adult no less. In public no less. But at the same time, it’s uplifting to read about the person who speaks up against such viciousness.
Thank you, Michael Garcia, for defending the beauty and grace in this world ~ that’s what a child is, beauty and grace. A child with special needs is no less beautiful, nor any less graceful. So, thank you, Michael Garcia, for defending beauty & grace, and defending their right to reside in the world, participate and live in it. Eat dinner with their families in it.
Tell me, Texas Jerk, where else are our children supposed to be special? Would you prefer we lock them in shackles down in the basement and never burden the general public with make-no-sense-melt-downs and verbal tics whilst the perfect people of society chew on their chicken parmesan?
This jerk should be so lucky to have kids that don’t require any extra patience, or love, or attention, or work. What a perfect parent you must be in order to have such well-behaved children that you can sit in judgement of someone else’s.
And, I’ll readily admit that I’m guilty of passing judgement on peoples’ parenting skills, (or lack thereof,) in the past. Especially before I had my own child. “I’ll never let my kid behave like that …” said the silly, ignorant childless me, the me who had no idea what being a parent actually entailed – the little victories, the trivial wars over silly stuff like putting ones shoes on by oneself. I have eaten bowl after bowl of “I’ll never do that when I’m a mom …” cookies.
But I just don’t understand how a parent can perpetuate such intolerance; teaching his own children to hate those whom they may not understand or be able to relate to. And this kind of intolerance breeds cruelty, which is what that father enacted, and what his children witnessed. Great teaching moment, dad.
But Michael Garcia gave the dad an out, saying that it was ‘fear of the unknown‘ which made him behave in such a despicable manner.
Well, this angers me because in 2013 I feel like the excuse “fear of the unknown” is a cop-out. That’s unacceptable to me. If you don’t know, ask. If you are afraid of something, or don’t understand something, go and search for the answers, talk to people, GOOGLE IT, understand it, figure it out. As a mother of a child who is atypical, I’m open to you asking me questions about it, and hell, everyone has access to the internet where we can find answers to EVERYTHING in under fifteen seconds.
Have you ever met a child with Downs Syndrome? I have. I regularly volunteer at my son’s school & have weekly interactions with 2 Downs kids. They are the sweetest, most loving kids in the building. They run up to me, open arms, ready with a hug and a smile. They are goofy and silly and eager to learn. How can that scare you? How is goofy, silly & eager threatening? How is that ‘unknown’? I have no clue.
The phrase that keeps coming to my mind is “There by the grace of God go I …” Now, dear reader, I’m not a religious woman by any means – spiritual, yes – but I can’t help but repeat that phrase in my head after reading the story. So, what happens when this jerk’s children have children? And what happens if one of his grandkids has Downs? Then what? Will he sit and openly mock them at family dinner?
If that should happen, hopefully there will be more Michael Garcia’s in the world to step in and protect the innocents, the special needs kids, the kids who are different, the ones who don’t quite fit in. And we should all aspire to be like Michael Garcia, to teach our children to be more like Michael Garcia, and stand up against ignorance, intolerance and cruelty.