He was the perfect man. His eyes were sunshine, he was a great listener and there has never been another man as good with kids as he was. Mothers would trust their brainless infants in his deep, deep lap and he would be the light of every selfie in however large a group.
Donald McDonald and I had a great thing going, for about 17 years. And then I discovered his shady truth. His lies broke my heart, and then some. I never could return to McDonald’s the same way after that. If I did, it would be my personal Walk of Pain.
Like in any good love story, let me start right at the beginning when Donald and I didn’t even know the other existed.
I grew up a quiet, well behaved little girl in Delhi who had no clue what burgers or French fries were until I started going to school, and to school picnics. Mommy made these yellow things that looked like chopped bananas but tasted delicious and as un-banana as possible. Those were French fries, and in later years, I was to discover burgers after coming down from a cinema hall after my first movie (Josh), and straight into McDonald’s. I would encode that scent for a lifetime, never to forget it.
That’s when I saw him. For the first time.
Donald McDonald, the beacon of all things delicious and lovable. My hero!
We became friends when after dozens of failed attempts, I finally gathered the courage to walk with my uncle to his calm and rather beautiful self sitting outside McDonald’s, on a bench, smiling always, and despite my persistent fear that if I sit in his lap I will slip in and never come out again, my uncle scooped my tiny self up and put me down into the deadly trench of McDonald’s Lap.
McDonald’s Lap has deeper connotations than you’d think. ‘Once a customer, always a customer’ should be their real motto, because after those first few trips, I never could resist the heavy and oily smell of unhealthy food that McD sells.
In fact, my love was so strong, that as an 8 year old, I once entered a mask-painting contest at McD and on the day of declaration of results, was dressed and ready half an hour before we were scheduled to leave. That’s to say a lot for an eight year old, now. Unfortunately, my dad got late and I missed the mere 30 minute party, but Donald was there and he made me smile anyway.
It was true love.
And then came the teen years. I started going out with friends. Sometimes I took them to McD, but sometimes I went to other places. I found that there was no McDonald’s in Zimbabwe, which felt like a strange economic decision.
I started reading about the world. I read about the issues people face every day, the poverty and the injustice. I felt sad, so I grabbed a McVeggie and calmed myself down. Yet, I kept reading. I came across Upworthy, which became my career dream. And then one day, it all came crashing down.
Donald McDonald was a cheat.
I couldn’t believe it when I first saw it, but there was no denying the truth.
One day while surfing through Upworthy, I found this heartbreaking news.
McDonald’s has been paying it’s workers much below the minimum wage for years.
I felt betrayed. All those times I would go to Donald to share my pain of the crimes in this world, he was just lying to me! He was dealing under the table himself, while feeding me on his criminally-produced burgers!
The pay an average McDonald’s employee receives is so less that even if they saved for years, say 10 years, they wouldn’t be able to afford a decent apartment. I know there are a lot of variables to that, so I went on an evidence spree.
I was still making up my mind on what to do, when Upworthy dropped the final blow.
McDonald’s doesn’t just pay peanuts, it steals too. Many workers who went to cash their embarrassing cheques found that they bounced! They BOUNCED. A greedy corporation’s cheques bounce.
Donald…. it’s over.
Don’t call me, don’t text me, don’t email me. No we can’t be friends anymore. No I won’t try your new paneer burger. I am impressed by Zimbabwe to keep thieves out. And NO. I am NOT lovin’ it!