Heartless LWR Cinemas episode shows need for sensitivity training

April 19, 2014 

Insensitivity can be found everywhere under any circumstances. But sticking with a rigid and boneheaded corporate policy while literally staring in the face of a diabetic youth brings new meaning to insensitive. And it's not good.

At least Lakewood Ranch Cinemas apologized to 16-year-old Ryan Symens for refusing to allow him to enter a screening with several boxes of juice and protein bars. Those are as essential as the testing equipment, glucose tables, insulin and emergency injection he carried in his backpack.

But the manager stuck to policy: no outside food or drinks allowed, only concession purchases. Apparently even when certain distinct items could prevent a diabetic crisis.

The manager doubled-down on insensitivity by adding rudeness, telling Symens to go to another theater. But the teen gave up his snacks and bought some apple juice in order to stay with his friends for the movie. He showed class where the manager showed none.

There ought to be a law requiring businesses to accommodate people carrying medical necessities -- on par with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Lakewood Ranch Cinemas got the message, telling Ryan's father, Chad Symens, that the offending employees are now aware of their "mishandling of a very delicate situation" to prevent a recurrence.

Bravo to that. Other businesses can learn from this. Sensitivity training for one and all.

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