A waiter who stood up for a child with Down syndrome by refusing to serve a customer who made fun of him is receiving praise from people all over the country.

Michael Garcia is being called a "hero" in his hometown of Houston — and beyond.

An employee at Laurenzo's Restaurant, Garcia says 5-year-old Milo Castillo and his family are regulars, and he's always happy when they show up.

"Normally when they arrive, I pick [Milo] up at the door and carry him to the table," Garcia told Click2Houston.

But last week, another patron tried to put a damper on Milo's visit by moving his family away from the Castillos' table in response to what Garcia called Milo's "little noises."

Rather than keeping his displeasure to himself, the unidentified man made his annoyance evident by saying "Special needs children need to be special somewhere else."

"My personal feelings took over and I told him, 'I'm not going to be able to serve you, sir,'" Garcia recalled. "He said, 'If you're not going to be able to serve us, then we'll leave.' Then I told him, 'How could you say that? How could you say that about a beautiful 5-year-old angel?'"

Milo's mother Kim said Garcia's selfless act impressed her, but she was also concerned that he might have jeopardize his job.

Happily, Laurenzo's sided with Garcia, saying they stood by his decision.

The outpouring of support on the restaurant's Facebook page might have had something to do with that: Since last week, hundreds of messages have been sent in commending Garcia for defending Milo.

"Keep hiring people like Michael Garcia," wrote one Facebook user. "They will bring you so much more customers [than] the jerk who was tossed out."

[H/T: BuzzFeed, screengrabs via Click2Houston]