Advocating For Food Allergies With Kindness
If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know that our food allergy family likes to travel. We’ve made it a priority as a family. Because of this, we’ve had lots of food allergy experiences while flying. Some good, some bad. One of the worst experiences happened a year or two back when we were leaving Maui. The airline made an announcement prior to boarding at the gate stating that someone had a nut allergy and to please not bring peanuts or nuts on board and please arrange for an alternate snack. What happened after made me want to hide my daughter’s ears and slink into a corner: There were AUDIBLE groans and loud complaints. I FELT so bad and I desperately hoped that my daughter hadn’t noticed.
I’ve had some time to think about this experience since then.
I’m definitely NOT excusing rude behaviour, (I mean, what happened to “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”?), but I need to keep in mind that everybody has reasons for what they do (including me) and I may not completely understand those reasons. It comes down to the fact that those people who created a stir before our flight simply don’t understand food allergies. Their minds are closed to learning about allergies because it’s only ever been an inconvenience for them. Although I'm not the type to groan and fuss, I was guilty of not understanding before we had food allergies in our family too. So although the groans and complaints were rude (and a whole other blog post altogether); there is something deeper that we need to address. And that is:
How do we get people to open their minds enough so they want to accommodate food allergies even when they don’t have experience with them?
One way, I think, is through kindness.
Which is why I was SO excited when I saw the Facebook post of food allergy mama, Danielle Pomeroy. Danielle’s daughter, Kai has food allergies to tree nuts and a dairy intolerance. On a recent trip, they decided to show a little love to their non-food allergy friends and improved food allergy awareness while they were at it. How, you ask? Simply by being kind. Danielle, her hubby and Kai offered the “buffer zone” around Kai's plane seat an alternate safe snack to make up for missing nuts and added a personal touch with a lovely note. See it here:
I’m in LOVE with this! What better way to advocate and increase awareness than through kindness and empathy - EXACTLY what we’re hoping for as food allergy mamas.
Thanks to Danielle and her daughter Kai for allowing me to share this awesome idea!
If you love this idea, join the Friendly Pantry Food Allergy Community where we have a great group of kind & compassionate food allergy mamas just like you!
What do you think? Will you use this idea when you travel? Do you have other ways to advocate with kindness? Share in the comments!