Tag Archives: Allergies

The Good, The Bad, and The Solution

A little more than two years ago my family got some first-hand experience with the Ronald McDonald House organization. The charity that bears the name of the fast food chain’s goofy clown mascot had been an enigma to me until then. What I discovered opened my eyes to something wonderful that truly makes a difference in the lives of families at times when it is most needed.


Ronald McDonald houses can be found all over the world. There are over three hundred of them and are usually neighboring a local women’s or children’s hospital. There was one across the street from McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario when our daughter had surgery to correct a pretty bad case of scoliosis.

The houses allow families of children in hospital to have a place to live throughout the ordeal without the added burden of staying in a hotel and eating out for every meal.

We declined the actual Ronald McDonald House offer that was available to us because we were able to have one parent in the hospital with our daughter and the other drove the 45 minutes back home. However, at McMaster Children’s Hospital, there was also a Ronald McDonald House room for people to use. It was outfitted with couches and televisions and had a kitchen stocked with food and beverages. It was a quiet sanctuary away from all the stress of the ward and it was only a hundred steps away.

I mention all this because Wednesday, May 3 is McHappy Day and some of the proceeds from hot beverage sales, Big Macs, and Happy Meals will be donated to Ronald McDonald House charities. Every year since the surgery our family has eaten McDonald’s on that day and sometimes more than once.

I was all set to load up on Mc D’s this year again but then the restaurant I hate to love went and did something stupid: they made it so that their restaurants were no longer safe for my son to eat at by introducing foods that contained peanuts and other nuts. This isn’t normally a big problem, but this decision also came with the fact that the nuts would be open and not packaged or pre-mixed into the food. What this ended up doing was rendering every food they make at risk of containing traces of peanuts.

I still can’t fathom what moron made that decision and how much more money they thought they would be able to make by doing it this way instead of a way that wouldn’t contaminate all their other foods. I know a good number of other parents of kids with nut allergies who were just as confused and just as upset as I was. I even wrote a scathing letter to McDonald’s (and posted it on my blog). I received a form letter response a week or so later saying that they were ensuring my letter made it into the proper hands but since then I have not heard anything. I don’t expect to.

Suffice it to say I’ve sworn off McDonald’s in protest of this asinine move, but with McHappy Day fast approaching I have to admit I have been torn. The good news is I think I have come up with an agreeable solution.

Ronald McDonald House is a registered charity around the world. What that means is that if you donate to them you get a tax receipt. What that means (at least as far as I know in Canada and the United States) is that you can claim that donation on your taxes and you will receive a percentage back.

So here’s what I’m going to do on McHappy Day this year, and I am putting out an open call for people to join me:

On Wednesday, May 3, 2017, I am going to bypass the whole restaurant middleman and donate directly to Ronald McDonald House. Then, with the equivalent of what I’d get back on my taxes from making that donation, I’m going to go straight to Wendy’s and buying dinner.

~ Andrew

Here’s where you can donate to Ronald McDonald House:


U.S. and Other:

Related Links:

Would You Like Epinephrine With That?

Dear McDonald’s Canada,
I’m not sure where to start. I find your recent decision to not just introduce nut allergen-riddled products to your restaurants but to also avoid the containment of said allergens baffling. My son has a potentially deadly nut allergy so I have been thinking about this quite a bit since the news came to my attention. So far, I’m left with more questions than answers. The first of which is:
What were you thinking?
My instinct is to answer that question on your behalf with, “You weren’t,” however I know for certain that this was not the case. You had signs and posters made up, for crying out loud. This wasn’t an ad-hoc decision made at some corporate retreat. This was a deliberate, strategic decision that contained forethought and planning and no doubt myriad changes to the corporate employee handbook.
Speaking of employees, you haven’t just ruined dinner for hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) of Canadians. You have now made the conscious decision to make your work environment unsafe for any employees with nut allergies. What had previously been a safe workplace is now potentially deadly. Another question that immediately came to mind was, “Did you take this into consideration when you made the decision?” If you did, I hope this was communicated well in advance and I trust you also more than adequately compensated the employees that were affected.  
McDonald’s used to be a restaurant you could count on, for families on the go, for travelers, for kids looking for their first job, and you have just pulled the rug out from under a good portion of those people. 
What were you thinking?
My family has seen first-hand all the good work you are doing with Ronald McDonald House. We take great pride in supporting a company that makes such a profound difference in the lives of families living through unspeakable circumstances. But now you’ve turned around and slammed the door in the face of not just hundreds of thousands of your customers, but throngs of supporters as well.
Is it worth it? Tell us, multi-billion dollar faceless corporation, how much more money do you think you will make with these new products? How much more is it compared with how much you think you are going to lose from angry families like mine? The difference should be in the millions of dollars. Seriously, you must genuinely think you will come out on top to the tune of millions. If not, I can’t imagine how this decision was ever made. 
What were you thinking?
How much more would it have cost to deliver new menu items in a manner that was allergy safe? You already have pre-packaged peanuts. Would providing a similar alternative in these cases really have hurt your bottom line that severely? I keep coming back to the idea that this wasn’t thought through, but your actions thus far show this was not the case. You knew what you were doing. 
What were you thinking? 
This does not seem like the action of a restaurant chain that cares about its employees and customers.  This seems like something Donald Trump would do and in my mind, his approval rating is higher than yours right now. On behalf of all the individuals and families who live with nut allergies in this country, I implore you to re-think your decision. 
Make McDonald’s great again.

Andrew Butters