The latest news tells what happened in a restaurant of Houston. A family of four asked to have dinner at a distance from the table where another family with a disabled child was dining, and addressed the waiter with a few pungent words.

“Disabled persons should eat in special places when they enter a restaurant!”

On hearing those words, the waiter refused to serve those customers who finally were compelled to leave.

The news spread quite soon and the restaurant was praised by host of people due to waiter’s behavior.

My voice is dissenting.

What happened in that restaurant is quite common. People, even though they don’t express their feeling openly, tend to remove every hindrance to their comfort. In the case I am dealing with, the family who asked to dine at a distance from the disabled kid wanted to enjoy dinner without being bothered.

This is called “intolerance” and it happens in every field of life. Above all, intolerance is present in religions and it is called “fundamentalism”. Each religion claims to be the only way that leads to heaven, and considers those who have a different creed as infidels.

I don’t want to either praise or backbite that waiter; I just want to tell what I would have done if I were in his shoes. Well, I would have served the family who said unkind things to the kid with Down syndrome. In fact, a waiter’s duty who deals with the public is to show impartiality and tolerance towards all customers, putting aside his personal opinion.

Every opinion deserves to be expressed, even though it offends one’s personal feelings. At the top of human values there is freedom of speech and thought.  If I were that waiter, I would not have taken stance for or against this or that family; otherwise, I would have been as intolerant as those people whose intolerance I wanted to punish.

Intolerance cannot be fought by intolerance.

The true tolerant person shows love, respect and impartiality to everybody, even to intolerant persons.

Ettore Grillo author of The Vibrations of Words



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