The Celiac journey is something we are quickly figuring out. Six months in to this reality we do gluten free. Our friends do gluten free play dates. We never leave the house without food and water bottles. I haven’t lost an Oo water bottle in six months, because I can’t, because we have to keep her safe. Our house is gluten free. We even are slowly mastering gluten free baking, and my colleagues would admit that our GF cookies are freaking delicious.
Navigating the world is hard. We can’t ever grab a “quick bite.” We can’t ever be without her water bottles. We can’t ever ad-hoc dinner plans… or lunch plans… That’s hard… It is hard to be out in the world, and know that no place is safe to eat for your four year old.
Well… we had a win today, and it basically made me weep. The rumor on the Celiac boards was that Jersey Mike’s had trained their employees on how to be Celiac safe… and several parents were commenting that they were super impressed with their local Jersey Mike’s.
On a payday Friday, after a very long week, and a random day off of school… I just had to go see if we could really eat at Jersey Mike’s.
I immediately told the sandwich maker behind the counter that my daughter had Celiac. He cleaned the slicer several times, with a clean cloth every time. He retrieved the well sealed Udi’s gluten free sub roll. He washed his hands twice, and used new gloves. He cut her gluten free bread with a new knife from the sterilizer, and laid out clean paper. He washed the entire counter that sandwiches are made on… when I mentioned we needed fresh mayo and a new utensil for her sandwich, he informed me that they have different condiments for gluten free, and pulled out a squeeze bottle that never touched the bread…. They are serious about gluten free, and the risks of cross contamination. I was sooo impressed, and basically ready to cry with joy because when you live a life where a sandwich is hard someone making you a gluten free sandwich with kindness is a gift. When I said she needed her own bag, they gladly provided her with one. When I asked for cup further down the stack, they said of course….
All of the staff was ridiculous kind. They enjoyed being helpful. As we were leaving, I took a picture of Oo… because sandwich shop and Celiac is a pretty epic moment.
The manager and a female worker watched the exchange, and they said “glad we could help you enjoy this.”
It mattered. It is important.
They provided equity for a tiny human who needs more care for her to enjoy a sandwich. They did it with kindness and compassion. They bought a customer for life.
Today, a quick lunch, and a sandwich wasn’t hard. It was just a regular Friday lunch after a busy week, that I really wanted to treat with subs. The subs were delicious.