On Thursday 16th June 2016 I attended Royal Ascot with my work for a company day out.
Being that Ascot was going to be a full day out I needed to check if there would be gluten free food available. Two of my colleagues and myself contacted Ascot to ask if there would be gluten free food on the day and we were all told that yes, there would be. I was also told that one restaurant in particular called The Bandstand Restaurant would be offering gluten free on the day.
As someone with a food related medical condition I take it upon myself to take snacks wherever I go, just in case. This day was no different. I took two small NAKD bars with me in my handbag as a backup in case there wasn’t much for me to eat. I needn’t have bothered as at the bag check desk, even after I explicitly stated that I had coeliac disease, a medical condition, the food was still confiscated from me. I found this to be a terrible display of understanding and consideration. It wasn’t like I was taking in a picnic or a full meal, it was two small health bars and I had a valid reason for having them with me. There wasn’t even an apology at the gate, just a shrug and an almost ‘we don’t care’ attitude. If I had been attending on my own I would have gone home there and then, but it was a work day out so I watched as my food was binned and went on through.
When lunch time came I went to look for the gluten free food I had been told numerous times was available. The Bandstand Restaurant had some ‘gluten free’ cake but it wasn’t securely wrapped and was placed amongst regular cakes. The cross contamination risk was also way too high so that was off the menu. I couldn’t find anything savoury gluten free. Nada.
None of the food stands I found did gluten free and I walked around, A LOT. Disappointing didn’t even cover it. I was hungry and angry and felt I had been lied to.
I had left the house at 8am and didn’t get home until 8pm. Over the course of 12 hours all I had to eat, all I could find to eat that was gluten free at Ascot was a chocolate bar, a packet of crisps and a banana. Hardly substantial.
In this day and age it really isn’t acceptable to hold a function which lasts all day and not cater for those who have an allergy or intolerance. It feels almost like a form of discrimination and it ruined the day completely for me, I certainly won’t be coming back.
I try not to do any angry posts but this was one I could not just bite my tongue over and let go. I was furious. I was teary. I was left feeling a terrible sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, both from hunger and frustration. You see, coeliac disease is MY disease. I don’t want attention, I don’t want sympathy, most of the time I don’t want anyone to know I have it. But having it is hard and living with it can be hard and Ascot just made it so much worse for me when they really, REALLY could have made it so much easier.