Diabetic Teen Refused Admission to Drive-In for Bringing Outside Candy

Did theater owner go too far?


The management at New Jersey's Delsea Drive-In is strict about their "no outside food" policy. So strict, in fact, that a diabetic teen was denied admission for bringing along a backpack containing insulin, an Epipen, a juice box, and a small candy to manage his blood sugar level. 16-year-old Ben Weidner, who has Type 1 diabetes, watched as his parents got into a confrontation with drive-in owner John DeLeonardis. "He needs to have items with him to handle low blood sugar," Ben's father, Phil Weidner, told WPVI. "He's got celiac, he's got numerous food allergies. We are bringing these items in not because they are extra items to eat, but because they are for his own safety."
Did the theater owner go too far when he denied Ben Weidner admission for bringing in outside food?
Yes: Weidner had candy for his own safety, not because he was trying to cheat the system.1 (50.0%)
No: The box office sells several diabetic-friendly snacks, and the owner can't be faulted for trying to maintain profits.1 (50.0%)

But DeLeonardis, who is also a pediatrician, refused to budge in his policy against outside food and drink, saying that any exception would lead to waves of customers using diabetes as an excuse to bring in outside snacks.

"No food. No drink. Bottom line," he told WPVI. "Sorry your kid has an affliction but what can I tell you?"

DeLeonardis said that the house rules are plainly stated on the theater's website. Unmentioned are the diabetic and celiac-friendly snacks which, he added, are available at the concession stand. Additionally, Yelp reviews found some customers complaining of long wait times for snacks--which could spell disaster were a diabetic person's blood sugar level to fall below a certain threshold.

While it's understandable that a business owner who relies on revenue from a concession stand would want to enforce the policies that keep the lights on, DeLeonardis will have to decide whether, in this case, he went too far.

"I feel humiliated, really," Ben said. "Because I've been trying to get past this, all this stuff with my friends. Pretty much being with them, be as normal as possible. It's just really humiliating."

DeLeonardis currently has no plans to change his policy against outside food.

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I love Snickers

This guy's actions were inexcusable!!! Some dumb loser telling them "no" is somewhat understandable - - BUT a DOCTOR whose practice & specialty is CHILDREN????? Who better than a pediatrician would understand this boy's medical situation??? If the boy had had a reaction and his parents had been unable to help him because of not being able to get him some juice soon enough - - - the two-bit movie theater would have been the LEAST of what he'd lose!!!! AND SHOULD lose for his obvious greed.

August 27 2014 at 1:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Seems like a greedy, short-sided decision BUT:
1) Can you bring in your own drinks to a bar? (to avoid sulfite containing wine)
2) Can you bring in your own food to a restaurant? (to avoid gluten or MSG)
No real winner here. The theaters are basically concession stands that bring in customers by showing movies (the studios and distributors can sometimes take over 100% of the ticket prices and the theater or drive-in would go broke without concession sales. Sometimes, the studios even demand a portion of concession sales, too)

August 26 2014 at 8:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Shelly Shell

All theaters don't want you to bring in outside food into their theater for fear of loosing money on snacks that they provide. Just bring it in your pocket, bookbag or purse to avoid any hassle.

August 26 2014 at 4:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Tom C.

Force him to shutdown..

August 26 2014 at 2:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

If this were your kid or even yourself - you'd feel different I assure you.
When blood sugar drops and someone crashes - its a very serious situation that needs swift and immediate attention and not sending dad or mom to the concession. The Doctor is the greedy one - and when you add numerous food allergies that my friends daughter lives with everyday of her life - you don't want to experiement and read (or believe) labels. One's speech is also affected whe one crashes and they also are prone to conculse - GREED IS THE ENEMY NOT CHEAPSKATES. Plus even if they were "thrifty and don't have enough cash for both the super inflated admissions then that's sad but sometimes true. Quite sure the doctor is earning a living for and probably not starving. GREED ! thats all it's about. If none of you never took some type of candy into a movie then I think you're full of bologna. I do recommend people think before they post and say - "what if it were me"? Ya think you'd want to wait for a parent or friend to run to concession and back ?
I hope the parents sue him - ESPECIALLY since he's PEDIATRITION. Bad Move Doc. ! Enjoy the press. H'e s lucky I wont be on that jury if the family does pursue litigatation. THIS IS INSURANCE FOR ANYONE WTH TYPE 1 DIABETIES AND SEVERVE ALLERGIES TO FOODS WE ARE NOT SURE OF.

August 26 2014 at 1:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply


We are overregulated and ruled up the butt that we can't see straight! We need to turn all this chit around real quick or anger and hostility in this society will permeate everything. There's no logical response anymore. It's all about rules and more rules and over-militarization of police. I'm surprised police weren't called for this particular incident, as it seems like people call the police if you're ******* a lollipop the wrong way. . . .

August 26 2014 at 11:31 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lefreak79's comment

If you feel that you cant follow the rules dont go there. Duh. I live in the area and know that has been a rule for years. Follow the rules or get out. There is a reason they dont allow outside food in. Maybe if you lived here and saw what that Drive Inn has gone thru in the last few years just to remain open you would have another view. Somehow I doubt it though. You sound more like self important know it all that feels they dont have to follow rules.

August 26 2014 at 11:50 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Buk's comment
I love Snickers

Hey, rules are rules!!! So what if one kid dies just as long as the movie theater rules don't get broken and the concession stand makes its' profit. I mean, the doctor has bills to pay. BMWs don't grow on trees, you know!!! (And his wife and nurse / mistress aren't cheap, either.)

August 27 2014 at 1:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

Something is wrong with this story. I am a diabetic and carry glucose tablets in my purse. The things that were listed in the article would have fit in mom's purse, you don't need a huge backpack for them. And how did the owner know what was in the backpack? Do they search each and every vehicle as it goes into the drive in? Does everyone get patted down? It doesn't make sense. When blood sugar in a diabetic goes down, it happens quickly so there is no time for someone to run to the concession, that's why I always have glucose tablets on me or in my car.

August 25 2014 at 2:31 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to citykitty123's comment

You are so right, I travel for work and my partner who is a diabetic, He carry those bills. Kids 16 he better learn to take care of proplem instead of mommy. This family make themselves handicapped by there actions. If they loved there son or son just spend $3 to make sure there son was safe, cheap skates. Did they take to people at drive in before going if they where so concernd for boys safety, find out they could buy what they needed there, no. Was kid in danger to wait in line no, did his mom wait in line no. Only way they were found out is if they where outside car eating it in frount of everyone, then kid was not having a attack he was sneaking snacks in and was found out.

August 26 2014 at 11:44 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bjg123gordon's comment
I love Snickers

You travel for work??? Doing what??? A garbage man or selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door??? You don't sound intelligent enough to be white collar. Your writing isn't even good enough to get you a GED. ( "proplem" instead of problem, several times saying "there" instead of their, "where" instead of were. Sheesh.)

August 27 2014 at 1:36 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

Yes he did. He knows the young man was not scamming the system. I say start a boycott of the business and spread the word around town via the newspaper and on social media around town andsee how his sales drop. maybe he is a doctor and has plenty of money to pay for no one to show up at his place of business. a young persons proper energies placed CAN bring about changes!!! I support this young man the owner was dead wrong.

August 25 2014 at 1:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tim's comment

When you realize that its one of the only drive inns left in the state youll see that youll get nowhere. Please dont go. Maybe we can actually stop showing up 1.5 hours early just to get a spot before they are full. Follow the rules or just shut up.

August 26 2014 at 11:55 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Buk's comment
I love Snickers

LOL Sorry, "Buk." You rationalizing being a money-grubbing creep doesn't wash, Doctor!!! Clearly, Docor, the ONLY thing you really care about is the almighty "Buk" / buck.

August 27 2014 at 1:44 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down

I don't blame the owner a bit, he's definitely right in the fact that many more people would suddenly have a medical need to bring snacks in. As for the candy itself, the boy didn't need to have candy, ever heard of glucose tablet? I'm sure the owner would have been okay since those aren't generally eaten as a movie time snack. Why did they even point it out? Can you seriously not sneak a box of candy in like everyone else? Why point it out? Smells like planned out attention whoring.

August 24 2014 at 6:52 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to imthtweirdkid's comment

BULL ****...one kids candy wouldn't start and epidemic.....the owner is just a plain money grubbing ass

August 25 2014 at 3:39 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lynn's comment

Have you ever been there? The rules are clearly stated. Follow the rules or get out. What dont you understand? Money grubbing? How much did they spend for the Digital Projection upgrade just to stay open?

August 26 2014 at 11:58 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down

Surprised. Drive in's are still around. Even. Going to the movies cost $ 11.00 per
I can watch the same movie. In my own house for. 9.00. Have a whole group with popcorn soda. Clean bathroom

August 19 2014 at 9:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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