This past weekend, our family took a trip to Seattle, Washington to take our son to his first professional baseball game. We were very excited about the trip and the visit exceeded our expectations. It wasn’t only that the Mariners beat the Red Sox in one of the best games they have had all season, or that we had a absolutely gorgeous weather. Actually, the visit began with a surprise that put a smile on my son’s face. We had booked reservations at the Maxwell Hotel in the Queen Anne neighborhood after a close friend who lives in Seattle had recommended it. It turned out to have lovely decor, comfortable beds and at check in offered free delicious pineapple cupcakes for all guests. When I had made my reservations I had read about the hotel on line and someone had commented about the delicious cupcakes.
I asked the receptionist if there were any gluten free alternatives nearby or should I just come with my own replacement for our arrival, anticipating that my son would immediately feel disappointed if he couldn’t have a cupcake with the rest of us. She told me that she also had food allergies and knew of an awesome bakery in Pike’s Place, a well known tourist attraction, not far from the hotel. She told me, that if possible she would get my son a gluten free vegan “monster” cookies that she knew he’d love. I had brought some alternatives for my son just in case she hadn’t gotten anything for him since she’d told me it wasn’t a guarantee. Upon arrival, we were told we had some gluten free vegan treats waiting for us. Not only had she gotten us a “monster” cookie the size of two fists, she’d also gotten a small loaf of blueberry bread and some kind of a scone. My son was absolutely in heaven as he munched on his massive cookie while we had our cupcakes. Needless to say, it was the perfect start to a family get a way weekend.
Another mitzvah happened a few weeks before, when I had called a local Baskin Robbins where we spend a great deal of time each summer. We go there for our summer camp’s cast party each week and I knew that my son’s dairy free choices would likely be limited. I thought I would check out exactly how limited the choices would be. It turned out there was a new owner since last summer’s camp session. When I got the new owner on the phone and asked about the dairy free options he explained that there were currently only two options but he would see what he could do before the end of the camp session about getting a few other alternatives. He also proceeded to offer our camp families a 10% discount on all purchases. I inquired if instead he would consider donating that 10% to our camp and he loved the idea. It has been a win win for everyone. We have begun a relationship with this generous new business owner, given him a tremendous amount of publicity at our camp and expect that we will also receive a sizable donation from his business at the end of the season. My son, of course, feels that his allergies played a role in this fundraising development so he feels that this opportunity came about because of him, which in fact it did.
The hidden benefits of allergies do seem to be outweighing some of the downsides we had anticipated. Perhaps food allergies aren’t quite as bad as we’d first expected.