Dear Barista

As Type 1 Diabetics, we’ve all had extremely insensitive and uncalled for comments directed toward us. Here are a few we’ve probably all heard:

You’re too skinny to be diabetic.
You don’t look diabetic. 

I’m guessing you ate too much candy as a kid.
Is that the good kind, or the bad kind?
You can’t eat that! 

The sad thing is, we’ve heard so much more. And the truth is, friends and relatives say them too…the people who should know better. However insensitive, we get past it and pass along some helpful enlightenment pertaining to T1D along the way.

After hearing all of these comments, plus more, during the 10.5 years that I’ve had T1D, I finally came across one that actually hurt me. It was SO insensitive and completely unnecessary. I honestly couldn’t even reply to the barista making my drink. I was furious. Angry. Sad. Hurt. Shocked.

The story goes as follows. I asked for my coffee to be made with heavy cream instead of milk. In Germany it’s super goofy, if you want heavy cream, it usually comes whipped, like the kind from the dispenser. You know…the one we as kids used to foam into our mouths (wait, we still do)! So I had to specifically ask for the “liquid” form. Thankfully they had it in the back room.

The woman who was actually making my drink sparked up conversation with me. I guess I had a weird request because she asked why I wanted “Schlagsahne”…heavy cream. I told her it’s much lower in carbs than regular milk and it’s easier for my type 1 diabetes.

Here’s what she responded with,

Man, I wish I had diabetes too.

HOW INSENSITIVE?! Or am I being sensitive? I just can’t image telling someone that I wish I had their disease too, or their cancer, or whatever “disability” they have. NEVER. There are SO many other simple responses she could have given, or even to have said nothing.

Here’s the other problem, we were speaking German together (hence me living in Germany). I am conversationally fluent, but when it comes to situations like this, I freeze. And that’s exactly what I did. Froze. I couldn’t even reply. I just stood there.

Honestly.

Thanks for reading!

Have you had an experience like this? …one that you can’t forget?

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6 comments

  1. What an ignorant person. I had a fiance tell me I was cursed by the devil for having my type 1. I asked him about cancer…are they cursed by the devil…He replied “yes”. I broke it off and 3 months later his mom died of brain cancer…kinda Karma I would say!

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  2. Ha! Silly girl, does she know you don’t have to be diabetic to enjoy cream in your coffee?

    I had a friend tell me that she met a man on a plane who claimed to have had t1d for years and didn’t know about it because he was so fit and healthy. When I objected and said it wasn’t possible, she got upset with me for accusing her of lying. I, in turn, got upset with her for not believing me and then she said it…”you’re just angry because you’re not well”. We were midway through a 7km walk and I literally ran away from her.

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  3. Good God – people are ridiculous. My husband’s aunt tried to tell him my diabetes could be cured with cinnamon in an email. I only found out at Thanksgiving when she asked me if he had told me about it. I had no idea she had sent an email. He told me he deleted it and “didn’t want to subject me to that stupidity”. Ha!

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