Coming home to Perth has brought with it so many full-circle moments. When I was in my mid teens I had a job working at the Southlands Hoyts cinema and on my student budget I spent many meals at Maccas Willetton.
My father also owned a shop in neighbouring suburb, Riverton, and would often go to the Willetton McDonalds for his breakfast. He tormented one particular girl by constantly sending his scrambled eggs back because they were too well done. He wanted his runny “Singapore-style” (You can take the boy out of Toa Payoh but not Toa Payoh out of the boy).
In 2001, in my last year of high school, I got a Rotary exchange scholarship to Switzerland. There was a meeting of all of the scholarship students before we left for our respective exchange countries and would you know it, the family of the girl Dad tormented over his eggs was right next to us at this briefing. I wanted to die! Even Mum was saying “Robert, stop sending your McDonald’s eggs back, it’s not a 5-star restaurant.”
Ask anyone,my father was the kindest and gentlest man and this “egg” drama was his only diva moment EVER. A year after I returned from Switzerland my father died of cancer. We never ate Maccas at Southlands together again and for the life of me, I could not bring myself to go in there again. I had not stepped into that restaurant for 11 years.
Until McHappy Day….
McHappy Day helps to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House charitites. I got to visit the house in Subiaco which provides a home away from home for children who are seriously ill who come from regional areas. It gives them free food and accommodation during their stay in Perth for hospital treatment, plus volunteers do the cleaning so the whole family can spend quality time with the child, which in the case of a terminally ill child, is priceless.
The irony was not lost on me, when Dad was going through treatment our family was bogged down in the mundane running of the household and stressed about small things. I wish we had paused,breathed and unified.
The licensee of the Willetton store also brought in faux snow for the kids and we had a ball. I helped grab donations and shake tins. Being a McHappy Day ambassador was not only fun but had a purpose for me. I can now walk into that McDonalds and not be scared I will break down and cry. I almost did a few times at the drive through.
Thanks to all the staff at McDonalds in Willetton for a great day and also to McDonalds for choosing me as an ambassador for McHappy Day 2014. Thanks to Mix 94.5 also for getting me involved.