I pointed to the Hero Burger, eyes alight, I found a place where I could eat! Taking my boyfriend by the hand I walked in, starving – I hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast and I’d been painting an apartment all day. There was no one in the restaurant except my boyfriend and I. At the cash stood two women, they were engaged in conversation as we approached.
Because of my “issue” I decided to order first to get it out of the way. I ordered my usual grilled chicken breast on a gluten-free bun. “Combo?” she asked offhandedly. I replied with a no as I (sadly) couldn’t enjoy the fries because of cross-contamination. With that I did my little spiel asking if she could make sure nothing containing gluten went near my food and stated it was an allergy.
Side note: I realize celiac disease is not considered an allergy, but it’s easier to categorize it that way instead of having to explain it in-depth.
The woman nodded, adding a quick “yep.” I wasn’t convinced…
After my boyfriend ordered we went to sit down. He could see something was bugging me and asked what was wrong. I told him that I didn’t trust the people at this restaurant with my food, I felt uneasy. To reassure me he decided to reiterate the allergy warning. With this the woman turned to the cook, “Can you make sure nothing gets contaminated because it’s an ‘allergy.’” She said it as if my boyfriend just told her that I’m the Queen of England! I was in shock, I could feel the anger bubbling up inside me. Was this woman serious?! She thought I was making this up?!
I took a deep breath in order to calm myself down so that I didn’t explode and school her on what it’s like to have celiac disease. In retrospect I really should have done it considering she works in the food industry. AND, not to mention, at an establishment that has a gluten-free option!
But hey, I guess that’s what you get when no one really knows about your disease. Which is why us celiacs need to help spread the word and educate those in the food industry so that issues like this don’t occur.
Oh, and did I get contaminated you ask? No, but I did get the wrong burger… Needless to say I’ll be avoiding that Hero Burger for a while.