I was told a story that when I was a kid in NZ, someone had their birthday party at McDonald’s in Newtown. A Vietnam vet happened to be dining at the same McDonald’s, had a bit of a turn, and attacked Ronald McDonald who had been entertaining the children. All that red, I guess. It was not a happy meal.
To see if this was an urban myth or an actual assault, I found the ‘McSpotlight’ website, run by some people that share the same love of Ronald as the vet. Here are the highlights:
1954 — Ray Kroc (his real name) became the first franchisee appointed by Mac and Dick McDonald in San Bernardino, California. (I also know that the company was nearly named MacDick’s. You would have been able to order a ‘Big Dick’ and fries).
1961 — Hamburger University opened in Elk Grove, near Chicago.
1967 — The first restaurants outside of the USA opened in Canada and Puerto Rico.
1974 — The 3,000th McDonald’s restaurant (I love the word ‘restaurant’ used in that context) was opened in Woolwich (south east London) in October, the first in the UK. The company admitted that NOBODY went in and later decided to target children with TV ads.
1976 — New countries – Switzerland, New Zealand.
(1979 — Ronald McDonald attacked at the Newtown McDonald’s in Wellington by a Vietnam vet.)
1984 — Founder Ray Kroc dies.
— James Huberty shoots 22 people dead at a McDonald’s in San Diego (USA).
(These were unrelated incidents, Huberty merely wanting to be served the breakfast menu after 10:30am).