September 24, 2007

Here Comes the Big Number 1

My letter to the Big Bud

August A. Busch IV, CEO
One Busch Place
St. Louis, MO 63118

September 11, 2007

Dear Mr. Busch,

I am the parent of two Type 1 insulin dependent children. I have recently read first hand reports from other type 1 parents of remarkably poor treatment of a juvenile diabetic at Sea World.

In reading the online account of this situation I noticed that a leading national organization for Type 1 families, Children With Diabetes, has canceled events at future national conference that were scheduled for Sea World in Orlando for 2008 and due to poor service in 2006. (

These two cases bring into question Sea World and Anheuser-Bush’s commitment to the safety of those who face serious medical challenges but may look fairly normal.

I believe in fair play so if Sea World is getting a bad wrap, I would like to know Shamu’s side of the story. Unfortunately your PR staffer who replied online seems to have done little but fan the flames and stampeded many families to Disney.

Type 1 diabetes is a autoimmune disease. Unlike type 2 it is not a function of lifestyle. These kids are type 1 24/7/365 through no fault of their own. They can not take a day off their diabetes care to enjoy your parks. I know from experience that the excitement, exercise and adrenalin associated with theme parks often make blood glucose management difficult for families in theme parks.

The FDA estimates there are about 1.6 million American families with a type 1 family member. Will Sea World, will you, make your parks accessible to these families who must do dozens of finger stick blood test and shots every day and may need to immediately provide glucose, often as juice, to avoid insulin shock? Or have you simply written us off as an undesirable demographic?

In addition to being the father of Type 1 kids, I am a big fans of theme parks. I write I would be happy to highlight your commitment to making Anheuser-Bush parks type 1 friendly there.

I look forward to your response.

Very Truly Yours

Bennet Dunlap

Bud's reply:

Daniel J. Decker
Executive Vice President & General Manager

10500 SeaWorld Drive
San Antonio Texas 78251

Mr. Bennett Dunlap

September 20, 2007

Dear Mr. Dunlap:

Thank you for contacting us regarding the {name not printed for privacy reasons} family’s experience at SeaWorld San Antonio. As you know we have apologized to the family directly and are working to address related issues on the needs of children with diabetes.

At the Anheuser-Bush Adventure Parks, we take the comments of our guest seriously and always strive to provide world class service. In this case, we are addressing your concerns and those of the Children with Diabetes Forum related to employee education and service guidelines.

I have every confidence that the passionate, dedicated leadership team here at SeaWorld San Antonio will thoroughly review and reform these policies in a timely, equitable manner.

Thanks again for your letter and your concern.


Daniel J. Decker

cc: August A. Bush IV
Keith M. Kasen

So here is my two cents:

The parks like the flagship beer clearly have a strict quality control program. This assures that, like the beer, the reply is carefully crafted and like the brew without any distinct flavor. (I have long felt the defining flavor of a Budweiser is celery and y'all know how tasty a stick of celery is.)

Seriously I think they may be getting the idea and that is a very positive thing. I am sure they are doing what they see as quality service. They know they dropped the ball here and are trying to pick it back up.

For that I raise a glass and toast their efforts. It is a Guinness.

ps Daniel - there is one T in my name, just like it was spelled in the letter to your boss - I am getting used to people who assume it has two.

1 comment :