“Stranded at the Drive-In”——Person with T1 Told No Food Allowed In.

Drive n DelseaJohn Travolta’s character in Grease sang that song when he was left high and dry at the drive-in movie theatre by Sandy, his true love.  It looks like Danny Zuko is not the only one having problems at the local neighborhood drive-in movies.

Dr. John Deleonardis is a pediatrician who also owns a movie theatre in New Jersey.  A drive-in movie theatre to be exact. Recently Dr. Deleonardis made news because he denied a young man the right to bring food into the drive-in, even though the young man has type 1 diabetes.

When the confrontation occurred and Dr. Deleonardis was asked about the entire situation he responded, “My time shouldn’t be occupied at the box office trying to explain to people.  We have a website.  It tells you about this.  If you don’t want to go to that, don’t come.”

Hmmmmmmm………………………Is this attitude the same as telling someone to go elsewhere if no handicapped ramp is available for a wheel chair?

Clearly the Doctor owns a business and it’s his call to run his business except in cases when he is violating someone else’s rights.  In a case involving SFX Entertainment denying entrance to venue holding a concert, it was found that:
“Should a guest arrive at a venue with food that is brought for diabetic purposes, an event staffer or supervisor, upon confirming that the food is in fact being brought for diabetic purposes, shall permit the guest to bring that food into the venue as an exception to the venue’s general policy prohibiting guests from bringing their own food into the venue. Should the food require refrigeration, the event staffer should offer to allow the guest to store the food in the refrigerator in the First Aid Room.”  (

Somewhere in the story the ‘good-doctor/owner’ also stated that diabetes-friendly food (would have loved to know what THAT was?) was available at the concession stand for sale.  It’s here where I believe he will find his case lost; as it needs to be readily available for emergency purposes as the findings in the SFX Entertainment case.

The family of course feels humiliated and many have stated how they do not understand how it got to this point.  Statements like:
“Why did they not just have his diabetes bag under the seat”.
“Why did they allow a check of his back-pack.”
“The snacks could have easily been hidden.”

All of these statements are true in the fact that they could have been done and done easily, that stated; it’s not the point.  Seems to me the Doctor may have his hands tied with legalities if this family wants, and chooses, to bring an action against him.  The courts would have to decide the merits of all parties.

My guess is also that postings, more than just the drive-in movie website, will be in order stating exactly what the policy is in agreement with the laws of the American Disabilities Act.  The doctor may also have a little PR problem on his hands in the fact that………well…….he is a pediatrician——and his actions may just seem a tad insensitive, but I will leave that to public opinion.

Now we can get in a rage about this story and we surely have seen it before; but if you want to do something, find out the laws exactly as needed and advocate for change.  Anger and hostile comments are all over the internet about this incident and you can find them……..join them…..and surely utilize your amendment rights.  But if you are THAT angry about it, take up the cause and run with it.

Years and years ago, the wonderful and mega-talented Crystal Jackson was just not so happy with the way things were done in her child’s school.  Now she, and her team at the American Diabetes Association, have changed history with what is expected in schools.  Crystal could have spent a lot of time yelling and screaming.  Now she negotiates as much as she can and when needed, she lets the law do her yelling.

If the movie theater story ‘pisses you off’—-get it off your chest.  But get ready to get to work on it, or the yelling is a moot point except to blow off steam.  One can turn a deaf ear to noise, but when a judge lowers that gavel, it’s heard by the world.

I am a diabetes dad.

Please visit my Diabetes Dad FB Page and hit ‘like’.

4 replies on ““Stranded at the Drive-In”——Person with T1 Told No Food Allowed In.”

I’m hoping not to get backlash from my comment but I try to follow rules & policies whenever possible. For a drive-in movie (or any place for that matter) my son truly only needs glucose tabs to treat his Type 1 lows. As far as other snacks for normal consumption, we try to roll with whatever the establishment offers. As long as we have G-tabs & glucagon, I feel his medical issue is covered. My son also has Celiac Disease – this is where things get a little trickier in terms of eating. If need be, we have no choice but to take food with us because gluten is in things you’d never imagine & cross contamination on even non-gluten food can cause days of sickness. Our approach is this – we try not to make my son’s two chronic diseases an issue unless we have to make them an issue. We choose our battles carefully and fight those with everything we have.

My son also has T1 and Celiac. The T1 in question in the original story has T1, Celiac and additional food allergies as he always carries and epi-pen with him.

Which is all we can do…..not sure why you would get a backlash——we surely do not know ALL THE ASPECTS of the ‘drive-in movie’ scenario and your points all well taken. We do what we can and confront where/when needed; I would think.
Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *