There are very few cities a person can travel to on this earth that don't sport the golden arches of McDonald's. While Cambodia and Vatican City are some of the few without a Mickey D's, it's a very short list. McDonald's has even spawned a universal language with their "McNuggets," "McRib" and "McMuffins." People have even begun referring to low-paid employment as "McJobs."
For a traveling family, McDonald's can be an oasis, though - a place parents know their kids will eat willingly and the restroom will be clean(ish). McDonald's fare is the same, from city to city, and of reliable, if mediocre quality. To mix it up, America's most prolific fast food chain provides seasonal items to tickle our fancy, too, like the McRib. (But seriously, why are their fake meat bones on a sandwich??)
As easy and family friendly as it can be, there are definitely some shenanigans going on at McDonald's, thanks to both the patrons and the employees. Some are funny, some are weird, some are gross...and some may cause you to swear off quarter-pounders forever. Suffice it to say, the following images will make you rethink McDonald's as a place the whole family will love.
15 The Drive-Thru Nightmare
No - your eyes aren't play tricks on you. Surveillance cameras caught disturbing footage of a mother trying to hand her two-year-old child to a McDonald's employee at the drive-thru window. According to new reports, the mother was abducted and attacked by the child's father, Levenski Crossty. While on the road, the mother convinced Crossty that her children needed to eat, so he pulled into the McDonald's drive-tru to order food. This is when the mother tried to pass the child to the restaurant employee, but Crossty grabs the child from the poor mother's arms and drives off with her children. It was a chilling scene, and the mother was left helpless in the parking lot. Crossty was eventually caught and convicted on kidnapping, burglary and assault charges.
14 Bathrooms Are Overrated
I do feel this mom's pain a little bit. Okay, so this is not the optimal (or most sanitary) place to change a diaper, and I wouldn't want to be the person eating there next...
BUT, I was once in a McDonald's in a small Texas town, and there was no changing table in the restroom. In McDonald's. A place designed to attract kids and families. When my husband said I couldn't expect all the modern conveniences in a tiny one-horse town, I glibly noted they did have WiFi.
This is two reasons to avoid McDonald's: One - some of them don't have changing tables for you to use; Two - the patron previously at your table may have plopped her toddler's poopy behind on your eating surface.
13 She's NOT Loving it
Well... I'm sure no parent imagines this scene when thinking about taking their kids to McDonald's. Ronald is supposed to be the fun-loving clown, the famous mascot of the fast-food chain, but this photo tells a very different story. The little girl, with her face as red as Ronald's hair, looks like she just walked into her worst nightmare. The horror on her face screams SAVE ME and Ronald... well that smile would give any toddler the creeps (us included). And where are her parents? We assume they were more concerned with taking a photo of this 'precious moment' than helping out their own daughter. It seems the only person who is 'loving it' is Ronald himself. Someone, please pick her up and hand her a happy meal.
12 Is He Watching....?
Nothing says dinner and a movie quite like this photo. A man named Chris Barnes went into a McDonald's in the late hours of the morning and, while munching away at his Chicken McNuggets, looked up to see a topless woman on the TV screen. The footage was on full display for a large part of the restaurant to see. How can this happen? We're wondering the same thing. According to news reports, McDonald's said the not-so-PG channel was selected by someone using a "smart phone app to control the TV." Thankfully, no children were around to witness it, but this photograph will forever be embedded in our minds when we think of the golden arches.
11 Getting Dirty With The Clown
Ronald McDonald may be a fun-loving birthday-type clown by day, but by night, he gets a whole different kind of lovin'. The ladies seem to be keeping it PG-13 with a couple of chaste pecks on the cheek, but the guys are...examining Ronald's knee?? (I'm sure that's it.)
Mr. McDonald appears to have recently stolen someone's skull and spinal cord, as you may note in his right hand. What has he been up to prior to this scene? Maybe his new friends are congratulating him on a fresh kill.
Now that you know Ronald McDonald's moonlight hours involve some rather nefarious activities, you might think again about snapping a photo of your kiddos sitting on his lap.
10 Getting Paid To Fight On The Job
If ever there were evidence for the validity of the slang "McJob," this nails it. Two McDonald's employees, on the clock, are fighting, MMA-style, in the parking lot. And a third employee, instead of breaking it up, is cheering them on. 'Gotta get your on-the-job entertainment somewhere, right?
Of course, it's understandable. As inspiring as the fast-food industry is, workers probably don't rate their job satisfaction very highly on the yearly employee survey. If I worked at McDonald's, I'd probably be pissed, too -- perhaps pissed enough to take a swing at that coworker who never, ever takes her turn filling up the ketchup pump.
But, maybe don't do lunch with your kiddo here on "take your child to work" day.
9 But What Is This?
"Hey everyone, I know apple pie filling is delicious, but let's mix things up a bit. You know what would really sell? Green bean filling!" said no advertising executive ever.
Maybe McDonald's got a big green bean shipment by mistake and decided to turn a problem into a profit. And everything tastes better with added sugar and fried...well, almost everything.
I mean, I'm all for dressing up the veggies to trick kids into eating them, but this concoction is nightmare fuel. It's enough to make any kid (or adult) swear off green beans AND pie. If you want to try this, um, delicacy, you'll have to travel. It's available only in Hong Kong, which is notorious for it's odd snack foods.
8 Drunken Antics (We Hope He's Drunk)
Again, far be it from me to criticize anyone's fashion choices, but it's hard not to giggle and/or stare at this one. It has the feel of a fraternity hazing prank gone...wrong? right? At least he's got a bottle of water in his hand, which should help his hangover somewhat.
The pantyhose over his head make me think maybe he's just a wardrobe-challenged robber, who forced the cashier to give him ice cream, though he certainly doesn't have anywhere to hide a gun for the heist.
Let me put it this way: do you wanna have a what-drunk-college-kids-do-at-parties conversation with your six-year-old? The one that will lead to "What's 'drunk' mean?" No? Stay outta McDonald's, especially after 2am.
7 How To Explain This Sign To The Kids...
The most logical and, in fact, only explanation I can come up with for this sign is that someone doesn't know how to spell "angus" (or they know but ran out of "G's".) Maybe a disgruntled McJob-holder decided to take their anger at the establishment's poor pay public. Either way, it's hard to imagine NOBODY else at the location noticed. I guess it's true what they say about people not reading anymore.
Honest mistake or not, you don't want to have to explain what an "anus pounder" is to your or anybody else's kids. Just don't go there -- literally or figuratively. The last thing you need is children running around shouting "anus pounder! anus pounder!" because they think it's funny and like the way you freak out and try to shush them in public.
6 Wrong Way To The Beach
Okay, so these people have on more clothes than some of the "People of McDonald's" but not what most of us consider dinner attire, even at a fast-food joint. Perhaps they forgot their clothes on their trip to the beach and thought, "F*@#& it, we're going to get a McFlurry anyway."
I don't like to moralize about people's clothing choices. How they choose to express themselves with fashion is their business. But, in looking at the man in this photo, I have to wonder what happened to "No shirt, no shoes, no service."
This won't traumatize your children, should you run into this family at the local Mickey D's, but you might have a hard time convincing them to wear pants next time you want to go out to eat.
5 Nightmare For Days
This Ronald McDonald lookalike won't be mistaken for the real deal by anyone, but he gives Stephen King's Pennywise the clown a run for his money in the creepy department. The meat cleaver is a nice touch and will be sure to have your kids sleeping in your bed for years to come.
This guy is actually protesting animal cruelty. McDonald's has been accused of buying the meat for their McNuggets and McChicken sandwich from suppliers that use cruel and outdated methods to kill the chickens. (And you thought it wasn't even real meat.) PETA actually has a whole character persona on their website named "Evil Ronald."
So, for the sake of your sleep and the sake of the chickens, don't take your kids to McDonald's.
4 Not The Best Example For Kids
WTF? How did that guy even get up there? Is this some kind of dare or a Guinness Book of World Records thing? One thing your kids don't need is inspiration for new and inventive ways to maim themselves. They're quite inspired enough on the subject without seeing crazy, golden-arch-perched people at their favorite local fast food palace.
I know my own kids would see this as a creative parkour challenge and instantly start plotting how to use the adjacent tree to ascend to the top of that big, yellow "M." They would, however, jump around in glee, howling like monkeys, once they got to the top, instead of adopting that serene, Pilates-like pose. They'd probably fall and break their necks, too.
No McDonald's equals no broken necks. See my logic?
3 Don't Mess With Ronald
Ronald McDonald may look like a perfectly innocent clown who loves children, but he has a dark and well-hidden secret. He's actually a total sociopath and likes torture his young guests while their parents' backs are turned.
This boy was approaching the clown for a hug, when, without warning, Ronald grabbed him by the neck and started choking the life out of him. His mother was so horrified, she got out her phone and snapped this photo. Note the look of glee on Ronald's face; he's truly enjoying this.
Luckily, a heroic bystander threw his Big Mac at Ronald to distract him, and the boy was able to escape. Parents, if you value your children's lives, stay away from Ronnie.
2 Promotion of Poop Jokes
I imagine this McDonald's was taking the "tell it like it is" approach. After all, families make pit stops at the golden arches on vacation for two things: food and feces. Do those two words so close together gross you out a little? Yeah, that's why "poop" should NOT be on a fast food sign.
I applaud the honestly, but really, we all know Mickey D.'s has a restroom. We don't need the sign outside to tell us that. And, we certainly don't need another reason for our children to repeat poop jokes over and over again, because they are just sooo hilarious. We are trapped in the car with their juvenile senses of humor. McDonald's, don't encourage them!
1 When Mom Finds Something Very Disturbing
Phoenix mom Erin Carr-Jordan was banned from eight McDonald's locations when she made national news revealing life-threatening pathogens with a swab test she did of the kids' play area. You just knew those places had to be crawling with germs, right?
Erin was moved to start testing the play areas when she noticed the visibly sad state they were in. "Many of these play places are in disgusting condition. I’ve seen rotting food, hair, stuff stuck to the wall, second-story windows broken,” she said.
The pathogens she found include those that cause meningitis, gastrointestinal disease and nausea. So if the food itself isn't enough to send you running for the toilet, just let your kids crawl all over the play structure and you'll be headed there in no time!
Sources: USAToday.com, ABCNews.com, PETA.org