Zealous 'no outside food or drink' policy snares diabetic man

A man says his son was told to keep his knapsack containing juice boxes outside the movie theatre, despite needing it for his Type 1 diabetes.

Shan Bricker says Imagine Theatre asked his diabetic son to keep juice boxes outside cinema

Gina Facca, the chief operating officer at Imagine Theatre says the company does have a 'no outside food or drinks' policy, but it doesn't override customers' special needs. (Yelp.ca)

A Waterloo, Ont. man said he and his son were prevented from entering a theatre to see Solo, the new Star Wars movie, because the young man's Type 1 diabetic son carried juice boxes with him in his knapsack. 

Shan Bricker said the manager at Imagine Theatre on Frederick Street, in Kitchener, Ont., insisted they have their bags searched and when he saw two juice boxes, he wouldn't let his 19-year-old son carry it into the theatre.  

"They were unrelenting," said Bricker. "This [diabetes] isn't a Type 2 scenario where you watch your diet and take a tablet." 

Bricker said the manager kept insisting there are sugary drinks at the concession stand for his son to purchase. 

"I again, explained it to him, 'sir you're not understanding.' If this young man is travelling on a bus, or he's at Conestoga College, he can't wait till the next bus stop and find a convenience store.'" 
Shan Bricker and his son at a Raptor's game. (Facebook: Shan Bricker)

The manager said his son could leave his knapsack outside the theatre, which the family did until the movie was over. 

"In other words, the whole approach was, we were trying to dupe him of concession sales," said Bricker. 

When he got home, Bricker posted of his experience on Facebook and on Google Reviews. 


Imagine Theatre responded to the review and has since then, tried to get in touch with his family to apologize.

"We're extremely apologetic to the way this customer has been treated in one of our facilities," said Gina Facca, the chief operating officer of the theatre. 

Facca said the company has an accessibility policy where staff is responsible for making accommodations for those with disability or special needs. 

"Our staff is trained that not all disabilities are visible," said Facca, adding that all her staff had this training. 

"The fact that they're not following it is a concern to me, which I'm going to follow-up with. I'm going to deal with my manager in the way that I see fit," she said. 

Bricker said he doesn't want anyone to be fired, but instead just wants "better education." 

"They need to start appreciating that this isn't the sixties... where we can just slap everyone with the same compliant treatment," he said.

"We're here to engage one another and appreciate each other's unique needs, and that most certainly did not happen."