After having lived in Dubai for 3 years and enjoyed hanging out in parks with my son and friends where you just pack your bag and your lunchbox and enjoy the outdoors. It had become an important outing for my son. Now that I am in Lebanon, I got so excited when I heard about this amazing Yuppie Park that people say is like no other. Planned our first trip to the park with friends & their kids, and what happened that day was a very outrageous experience that I still to this point can’t believe it actually happened.
Lady at the gate: “Hi, I need to check your bags.”
Me: “Sure, go ahead.”
Her (opening my son’s lunchbox): “Aha, that’s what I was looking for. You are not allowed to enter your food into the park.”
Me: “Oh, but I have a special case. My son has life-threatening food allergy and he can only eat from what I prepare for him.”
The man sitting beside her: “EKHER HAMMI INTI W EBNEK” (which translates to “I don’t give a damn about you and your son.”
Her: “You need to leave your food outside the park, and there is a cafeteria inside where you can buy food.”
Me: “Excuse me, do you know what life-threatening food allergy is? My son can die if he eats something that is not prepared by me and I need his food with me.”
Her: “These are the rules; no food is allowed in the park.”
Me: “Okay, I will respect your policies, what kind of food do you sell? Do you have any fruits?”
Her: “No, we have chips, chocolate, coke and …”
Me: “Oh, so you offer unhealthy food for kids. Okay, can I speak to the manager?”
After insisting on speaking to the manager several times claiming that the manager is too busy, the manager finally shows up with an appalling look on her face and just stands there.
Me: “Excuse me, are you the manager?”
Her: “Yes I am, and I know what you want to tell me and NO you are not allowed to enter food into the park under any circumstances.”
As I try to explain to her my situation, she would interrupt me and not let me finish what I have to say, and says, “EKHER HAMMI”, and walks away.
I look at the lady that I first encountered and say, “Okay, I’ll respect your rules and leave the food in the car and will go back out when my son gets hungry and feed him in the car.” (Car was literally parked few meters from the gate).
Took a deep breath in, and for the sake of my son’s excitement of going into a park with his friends, I went along.
It really was a lovely park with lots of activities for the kids. I meet up with my friends inside and tell them what happened at the gate. They calmed me down, but they probably didn’t grasp the intensity of what happened.
45 minutes later, my son asks for food. I tell him that we will go have our snack in the car and come back … and guess what? You are NOT allowed to exit and re-enter the park without paying another entrance fee.
Me: “No, no, no, no, you’re joking right?”
Lady at the gate: “No I am serious. If you step out of the gate, you have to pay again.”
Me: “I need to feed my son, and I am right in front of you. I will be back in 5 minutes.”
Her: “Still, you need to pay. These are the rules of the park. Once you take one step out of the gate, you need to pay to re-enter.”
My friend overheard what had happened, steps in and gets into an argument with the lady at the gate. Arguing back and forth, the manager decides to approach us with a repulsive attitude and says, EKHER HAMMI. These are the park rules, if you don’t like them simply don’t come!”
I was hurt but I didn’t grasp what had fully happened until I got back home and contemplated. I respect rules and I wouldn’t blame them for not understanding my son’s allergy, BUT the attitude and the response was cold-hearted, inhumane, and extremely unprofessional.
Found out later that the majority, if not all, of the reviews on Facebook have gone through a similar experience, such as a diabetic lady was not allowed to enter a cucumber that she needed to maintain her glucose level.
Keep in mind that I was holding my son who witnessed the whole encounter. I later realized that the whole scenario revolving around his case may have a negative impact!
Well, looks like EKHER HAMMI is Yuppie Park’s motto.
Never ever again to this park! #boycottyuppiepark