Can you imagine being an old lady when someone liberates you from your care home for an hour or so and takes you out, of all places, to McDonalds? Would you be grateful or would you sit there and wish they had taken you somewhere more upscale, a fancy pub or restaurant?
Would your answer change if you had never been to McDonalds? What if that experience and Little Chef and Road Chef had completely passed you by? What if for you it was a complete novelty? Would you then be fascinated by the layout, the design, by the drive-thru element? What would you make of the colourful cardboard packaging and inclusive toys for children? What about the range of seating McDonalds now offer from bar stools to comfortable tub chairs to bench seats to free-standing padded chairs? What about the decor, the lime green and purple, the wooden shutters that are fixed decoratively half open?
I had the privilege recently of taking the most interesting person I have met all year for her first ever McDonalds. We ordered apple pies and plain McFlurries.
“Look at the little cardboard boxes the apple boxes come in! How clever! This is amazing. Ice cream in a cup, this is lovely.”
“I know, this is my favourite McDonald’s meal, apple pie and ice cream.”
I just plonked my apple pie headfirst into my ice cream, while Isabella* ate hers separately, delicately savouring every delicious mouthful.
“The service is so quick here and it is so clean. Do they do other things here? What are those people eating over there? Do they do those chips here, fries?
“Yes, they do burgers and fries too. You can even get breakfast muffins here.”
“That is so clever. A burger in a cardboard box and those fries in the red box.”
Isabella motioned to the couple eating at the next table wanting a closer look at what they had ordered.
“It is her first ever McDonalds’, do you mind if she sees inside the box?” I asked.
The middle-aged gentleman flipped over the lid, while Isabella cooed and marvelled.
“Another time we can come here and you can order cheese burger and fries or chicken nuggets and fries.”
“Oh I can’t let you keep spending your money on me. You will be short. I have been keeping count you know.”
“For both of us, it came to less than a fiver, it’s nothing to worry about it.”
“We are at £19 now ($32 USD), it’s far too much.”
“There is nothing for you to worry about, I am not keeping score. You don’t need to either.”
“You can’t stop me. I do worry.”
I felt so privileged to have been able to take Isabella for her first ever McDonalds and the previous post I wrote about her has been one of my most popular posts. The money really is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. For her that McDonald’s trip was the highlight of her week, a wonder and a vast expense, to me it was literally pocket change, just an hour or two out of my day. Perspective really does change everything.
I don’t remember my first McDonalds but the first time I lived in a place with its’ own fast food restaurant, I was in my mid teens. I can remember working at Woolworths and buying a Cheeseburger Happy Meal when I worked extra hours in the holidays or after school. I used to give the little toys out the boxes to my younger sisters who were thrilled. It was the highlight of my week. How times change….
*Not her real name
© Michelle Sherlock 2014