Food Allergy 101: To alleviate stress, arrive early

What if my food allergy was a real, live person? And what if I could talk to him about what he's taught me over the years? Every Thursday, I get that chance...

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BLOG POST #138 — I’m sitting at the coffee shop when Mr. A., my allergy, arrives. We are supposed to meet at 6. It's 5:55.

When he sees me, he approaches the table.

"I thought I'd beat you here today," he says out of breath.

"I got here a couple minutes earlier than you," I say.

He sits. "You know, the two of us have been meeting for these weekly talks for a while now," Mr. A says. "And I've noticed that every time we get together, you are already waiting for me when I arrive."

"Yep," I say. "When there is food around and I'm meeting with someone, I always like to get there a bit early. That way, I'm not rushing around. I can find the best seats and get a good feel for the place before everyone else arrives. I can even talk to a manager or a server beforehand, if needed."

He gives a strange look. "That must be a pain always having to arrive early."

"It's just something I learned to do," I say with a shrug. "It relieves a ton of stress for me. Besides, when I'm here early, I always see you walk in. That makes it much harder for you to sneak up on me."

He frowns. I smile. 


JJ Vulopas is a rising senior at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. An advocate for young people, JJ has lived with food allergies his entire life. He is the author of the children's book, Land of Not. You can read his daily blog at Follow him on Instagram & Twitter @thelandofcan.