As I left the grocery store yesterday, I was stuck by the positive conversation I had during check-out. Sure, I’ve had conversations about food allergies in unlikely places before but this one was different.
I had put my food on the belt and the cashier immediately noticed I had bought Divvies cookies. ( A trusted allergy-friendly brand free of nuts, dairy and egg.) I buy them all the time and it’s rarely noticed.
She asked, “Do you have an allergy?”
I gave the standard answer, “My daughter is allergic to milk, sesame, nuts and shellfish.”
“Wow, how did you find out?”
“When she was nine months old, she had a reaction and landed in the hospital.” Another brief answer, figuring she doesn’t really want to get into this.
Then something different happens the girl bagging my groceries speaks up, “Wow, that must have been horrible!”
The cashier, “She was that young?”
Me: “Well, yes, most of us find out when they (our children) are very young and in a scary way.”
The cashier then states with outrage, “Have heard about that Mylan CEO! Did you know that she got 400% raise and made…” I chime in “19 million dollars last year!” I couldn’t believe she could pull up the figures like a well-seasoned food allergy advocate.
Then she asked me how many epis we need. It was the most detailed conversation I’ve ever had in passing with a stranger. What struck me most was the compassion these women showed towards us and the anger over the price hike. Most of the time, I get a mixture of pity (no, don’t need that) or blank stares (yep, not really getting it).
It seems this scandal and the apparent bad behavior of Mylan has sparked an awareness campaign far greater than anything I’ve ever seen.
And the kicker is that we don’t have to ask the general public to pay attention or to listen or to participate, people are outraged and they are rallying behind us. In the process, I have seen with my own eyes, they are also opening their hearts and minds, reaching out to us… and listening.
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