Conservative talk radio host and Fox News Contributor Mike Gallagher found the perfect way to spike his web traffic and Facebook crowd. He made a rather rude public observation – on his Facebook page – about the need for an announcement-requesting folks to refrain from eating peanuts on board a recent flight. He’s since taken the post down, because hundreds of food allergy advocates responded to his post; which, by the way, likely received more engagement than an entire year’s worth of posts from the looks of his page.
Since he took the post down, I have a couple handy screen grabs to share with you.
Oh, haha, lololol. I’m roflmao right now.
As a newsperson, you would think that Mr. Gallagher would have heard about, oh, I don’t know, a four year-old girl that went into anaphylaxis on a flight from Dublin to the U.S. Or, perhaps he would have heard about a second four year-old girl that went into anaphylaxis on a flight from the Canary Islands to the U.K.
This kind of thing can and does happen. Mr. Gallagher, this is why they made the announcement they did; not only for the individual’s safety, but also for the convenience of the other passengers and crew. You know, unless you were looking for a sidetrip to Podunk USA just because you and your fellow passengers thought that the announcement was a bit of an extreme recommendation.
Now, I’d like to address something that really bothers me about this whole thing. There are a lot of people out there, including Mr. Gallagher’s followers, who are saying this is just the next fight that all the crazy, left leaning liberals have chosen to take away Americans’ rights.
If I may. *wiping forehead*
Please listen carefully to what this registered Republican (I mean me) has to say next.
Medical issues—whether food allergies, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, autism, cancer or any number of diagnoses you can name—these are no respecter of persons, religious affiliation, political leanings or otherwise.
Contrary to what may be popular belief, food allergies are not a platform just to talk about something and get attention. Talk with any of my fellow food allergy community members and you’ll hear a consistent theme: We wouldn’t wish this on anyone.
We wouldn’t wish on you the constant calls to manufacturers to ensure their labeling is correct and that our loved one will, in fact, be able to safely eat that food.
We wouldn’t wish on you the stigma of being considered a “helicopter parent.”
We wouldn’t wish on you the ache of watching your child being left out *again* because he or she could not eat what everyone else was eating, and no one told you so you didn’t have an alternative with you.
We wouldn’t wish on you the food allergy bullying.
We wouldn’t wish on you the isolation and sheer terror of the immediacy and severity of food allergies.
We wouldn’t wish on you the terror of watching your child eat one bite and then swell up all over and then pass out because of a severe systemic reaction to a food that his body thought was an enemy invader.
We wouldn’t wish any of these on you. Not because of our political leanings, faith, level of education, or any other label you might like to slap on us. We wouldn’t because we are compassionate humans.
While I hope Mr. Gallagher enjoys the short-term traffic spike on his website and social channels, my greater hope is that he’s learned that one simple request for accommodation is far from “nuts.” Thinking of others first can often get a person much further than tearing them down.
Do you have thoughts about this? Share them with us in the comments.