Diabetic Kid Kicked Out of Movie Theater for Having Candy
by Lisa Fogarty
As a parent and as a person, I love rules. The more rules, the better. Rules help us maintain order, keep places clean and safe, and prevent us from giving in to our wonderful, selfish desires. Rules, rules, rules!
But even a rule-abiding citizen such as myself believes we've gone completely cuckoo in the name of rules and, in the process, some of us have lost all common sense. Case in point: a diabetic teen was reportedly kicked out of a drive-in movie theater in New Jersey because he committed a cardinal sin. He was found with candy -- sweets that his parents say he needs in order to maintain his blood sugar level.
Ben Weidner, 16, suffers from Type 1 diabetes and always carries with him an EpiPen, juice box, insulin, and some candy to keep his blood sugar in check. He, some friends, and their parents decided to visit Delsea Drive-In a few weeks ago, and the teen didn't think twice about packing candy in his backpack. But when they searched his bag, movie employees reportedly refused to let Ben bring his candy with him.
Phil Weidner, Ben's understandably irate dad, says his son has celiac and many food allergies. The candy and juice aren't luxury food items, he says, they're "for his own safety."
The owner of the drive-in who, weirdly enough, is a pediatrician, says those are the rules: "No food. No drink. Bottom line." He also said their concession stand carries diabetic and celiac-friendly foods, and he used a line that may seem familiar to anyone who has ever gone to school: if he let Ben do it, everyone else will want to bring outside food in.
Perhaps he's right. But then this is what he should tell everyone else: grow the hell up -- this child has diabetes. And if anyone wants to argue with that point, well, then, let's feel sorry for them and understand they have bigger issues than candy to deal with in life.
Parents who have sick children should be shown compassion and understanding. Rules are important because they keep people safe, and the minute you realize a rule can actually hurt a child like Ben, well, you break it and make an exception. The world isn't black and white, nor will it end if one child is allowed to munch on a Jolly Rancher while watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
More people need to use their heads when it comes to the rules they impose upon others, particularly when faced with a no-brainer like this one.
What do you think of the employees' decision to deny this teen admission because of his candy?