This was originally posted on Tickld.com but was flagged for review after much backlash. Please click it to enlarge and read. Then scroll down to read my letter to this waitress.
To the waitress who doesn’t believe I have Celiac:
I was really upset after I read this.
I understand where you are coming from. Working in the food industry is difficult and diners can be very demanding. I know a lot of customers come in on “fad” diets and have odd requests regarding meal preparation. However, contrary to your uninformed opinion, you cannot tell who has a gluten allergy and who does not.
I have Celiac Disease–that’s the autoimmune one. I have a formal diagnosis from a doctor. It’s in my medical record. It’s why I can’t join the army like I had planned 10 years ago.
I go out to eat frequently. I’ve gone to Italian restaurants and eaten their gluten free pasta (never with alfredo sauce though because that DOES have gluten in it). More often than not I’ve gone home without issue. On the flip side, I’ve gotten contaminated in the kitchen of my own house.
What you fail to realize is the fact that everyone manifests symptoms differently regardless of if they have the allergy or the disease. I get cramps, nausea, UTIs, anemia, and a rash. I have a friend who gets mild bloating. Another friend goes into full anaphylactic shock with even microscopic contact. We all have formal diagnoses.
I know going into the restaurant that I could get contaminated. Like I said, I’ve worked in the business. I know what goes on in the kitchen first hand. I do what I can to prevent it. I order from the gluten free menu and alert my server to my condition. Other than that it is out of my hands and ultimately I am taking a risk.
I refuse to seclude myself because it creates a minor inconvenience for you. I will not apologize for something that is entirely out of my control. I sure as hell did not ask for this disease. It has upended my life and changed everything. You say that it is not all about me when I go out to eat. Well, honey, it’s not all you you either.
The fact is, your restaurant probably has a gluten free menu which is why I’m eating there. So deal with it or find a new place to work that does not cater to the 20 million gluten intolerant people in the United States alone. Or perhaps your could just show some sympathy because I promise you, if I could trade this disease away I would in a heart beat. But I can’t so here we are.
It’s taken me 2.5 years to start correcting 22 years worth of damage from this illness. Please, I beg you, don’t gamble with my health because you don’t know or understand and won’t learn the facts. A little compassion goes a long way.
A Card-Carrying Gluten Intolerant Diner