A couple of weeks ago in the middle of my weekly grocery shopping at H-E-B, I had the good fortune of running into (literally) H-E-B Houston President, Scott McClelland. I’ll admit to being a little starstruck from seeing him on multiple tv commercials and then right in the middle of my little community store’s produce department. (Apparently I really was starstruck as it completely slipped my mind to snap a picture, so you’ll have to take my word for it.)
In a move very unlike me (I’m a little on the introverted side), I approached Scott and introduced myself as The Food Allergy Mom. I must say, he was absolutely charming and every bit as warm and friendly as he appears in those tv ads. I told him what a fan I am of H-E-B stores and products because of the tasty and affordable variety of gluten-free and allergen-friendly foods that they carry. Sure, there are other stores that sell some gluten-free and allergy-friendly groceries, but none of them are just down the street from me and at a price that can’t be beat!
During our conversation, Scott asked me if I’d ever tried Tate’s All Natural Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie.
He said they were not to be missed and were quite possibly one of the best cookies on the market. Then he said the great part. Tate’s makes a regular and gluten-free version, but Scott thought the GF version was just as fabulous as the original. That means he tried both. A grocery store president that actually eats what he sells and is knowledgeable about it with customers. I vowed then and there to find those cookies and give them a whirl (such a hardship you know!). By the way, the cookies are deliciously sinful…so much so that I probably shouldn’t keep these readily available in the pantry, if you know what I mean.
I was incredibly impressed when I thanked him for H-E-B’s participation in the Houston food allergy community and he instantly referenced the stores’ support of the Houston Walk for Food Allergy. Again, he knew exactly what activities the popular grocery chain supports without even a hint from me!
In my experience, Scott McClelland and H-E-B are the exception and not the rule. Think of how amazing it would be if every grocery store had this kind of dedication to stocking safe, quality products and commitment to actively supporting the food allergy community!
An hour later I stacked my purchases on the conveyor belt for checkout and felt a tap on my shoulder. Turns out Scott found the gluten-free Tate’s chocolate chip cookies he mentioned earlier and hunted me down to make sure I received them AND he gave me a coupon to cover the expense of the cookies. Like I said…A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.
I’m more grateful to Mr. McClelland and H-E-B than I can ever put in to words…but I’ll try anyway. Money (or lack thereof) is a burden for many families with food allergies, so thank you for helping us pinch pennies by offering affordable and safe selections. Community support for a sometimes touchy subject isn’t always as easy to come by as one would hope, so thank you for continued support of our local FARE food allergy walk. Normalcy can be a rare thing for those living with food allergies, and I am beyond grateful to you for the privilege of shopping at a regular grocery store from which I can buy affordable, safe groceries to feed my family’s hearts and stomachs. God bless you!