I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been asked that very question. And I always reply, with a sly look in my eye, “Yes. Twelve-year-old boys were the worst.”
And, frankly…they were. They were always trying to step on Ronald’s feet and pull his hair. It’s interesting how an icon loses his human characteristics, even when he’s breathing right in front of you. I suppose that’s how a lot of kids feel when meeting Santa Claus…they want to pull on his beard just to see if the myth is real…
I’d stare at these pre-pubescent twits, peering over my thick black sunglasses and say in a stern voice,
“Step away from the clown.”
Yes, I was Ronald McDonald’s bodyguard. I was just out of college when I first started working for him. I answered an ad in the paper that didn’t really give details about the job or the responsibilities. I had no clue what I was in for. Come to think of it, most of my employment revolved around similar scenarios, but I digress…I showed up at an office building, and was greeted by normal-looking people in normal-looking suits. We all headed into a conference room, where I promptly burst out laughing.
There he was at the head of the table, sipping on coffee, nibbling on cookies…Ronald McDonald, in the flesh.
I’m admittedly, a bit of a happy hippie. I frown upon corporate conglomerates, take delight in snubbing the likes of Starbucks and WalMart, and always root for the little guy. I’m more for the independent business owner, than a huge warehouse of junk that people decide they need just because its cheap. For me to work for McDonald’s? It was completely out of character.
The whole interview process was quite, well, normal. I wasn’t sure if he’d require me to sing some jingles, (“Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce cheeeeeseeee….”) or ask me to name the current Happy Meal™ giveaway toy, or what. To be honest, I don’t remember what they asked me, I was too amused at the situation I was in.
The next day, I got the call. Apparently I was one of 40 candidates, and the front-runner. I was shocked. I actually debated turning it down, but I was way too curious.
All in all, I have to say, throughout the year and a half I was there, my views of the McDonald’s corporation changed drastically. You’d be surprised at the grueling schedule we’d keep: in-store appearances, school shows, parades, radio and TV events, charity work…sometimes it seemed endless. But it always was a delight to hear the kid’s laughter, and see how much joy Ronald brought to their lives.
I never thought I’d say this, but I really developed a respect for that clown. And a new distaste for 12-year-old boys.