By Ellen Wein, Wednesday, May 18, 2011, at 4:30 pm.
Far be it from me to condone the nutritional value of the food at McDonald’s (although they have been trying a little harder lately), but when it comes to Ronald? Hands off!
In one of the more potentially forgettable yet memorable points in my early public relations career, I spent several days chauffeuring a Ronald McDonald to children in isolated community hospitals throughout western and central Pennsylvania. We made hospital visits and were the news story wherever we trekked.
It was a memorable road trip for several reasons. I must say I quickly forgave Ronald for all the relentless one-liners meant to entertain me and help the miles fly by. He lit up the lives of the seriously ill and disabled children and their families and caregivers who, along with the health-care facilities where they were housed, were literally on life support. No matter how grim the prognosis, how tired the staff and how long the day of bedside cheer had been, Ronald was the purveyor of hope and a moment’s escape for the smallest, sickest kids. For these “customers” of the McDonald’s brand, Happy Meals were most likely a distant memory, or perhaps symbolized that they would be regular kids again.
Retire Ronald? Honestly, for all the good all the Ronalds do for the world, the food police should find another target. The benefits of Ronald are worth more than their nutrition label.
So when it comes to Ronald and his value to the world, I say, “Super Size me!”
Photo credit: creative commons/ by sfxeric