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Anything is Possible if you Dare to Dream

April 11, 2008

The Americans with Disabilities Act

covers food allergies.

So why does Chuck E Cheese prohibit outside food other than cake, cupcakes and ice cream?

PROFIT: Pure and Simple!!!!

Their response to my inquiry:

"The only outside food we can allow inside is cake and ice-cream. This is a policy and there are no exceptions. Again, it is a healthy code violation to allow guests to bring in any other outside foods.

If the food allergy does not allow the guest to consume any items on our menu, we recommend the guest eat before they come to the restaurant.

Thank you, Guest Relations"

If allowing only outside foods, such as cakes and ice cream, which encourage parents to host expensive birthday parties at their facilities, isn't profit based discrimination, then I don't know what is.

They could ban all outside food and I would have no argument.

I THINK NOT: Banning cake and ice cream from their birthday parties would not be a very good profit making decision.

So I am left with a choice: feed my child before his party or host the party elsewhere.

Monkey Joes here we come!


April 10, 2008

There is no fury like a Special Needs Mother . . .

whose child is denied access or turned away do to his/her disability.

Whether the child's disability is highly visible or not, there is nothing worse than being asked to leave a restaurant, play place or other commercial establishment, merely because they cannot accomodate your child's special needs.

For the first few years of our son's life, we avoided birthday parties and play dates, because of his food allergies. We didn't feel that it was fair to expose our son to birthday cake and pizza etc . . . when he could not eat them.

During the past two years, however, we have gradually learned that it's okay to take him out. We just bring his food with us and bring him a sweet treat in lieu of the cake.

Sometimes we get funny looks from the waiters when we order our own food and I either take his homemade food out of his bag or give him a GFCF Happy Meal (plain burger with plain apples). Once we explain his allergies, they are usually very helpful and understanding.

Today, I ran up against a brick wall. . .

a manager at Chuck-E-Cheese, who refused to allow us to bring in our son's GFCF Happy Meal, even without the bag, so that he could eat dinner with his friends during his own 6th birthday party. Never mind that we spent BIG BUCKS on tokens and food for everyone else. Our son had to leave the party and go out to our car to eat his dinner.

When I explained his allergies to the manager, he was unsympathetic and said that everyone would start claiming food allergies just so they could bring in their own food. I think not.
No one wants to be allergic to half the food on the planet.

I'm very grateful that my son was so hungry by that point that he didn't think twice about going outside to eat. Most 6-year-olds would have thrown a fit. I would like to say that next time I go there, they will be more accomodating, but it's going to be a very cold day before we go back.