May 4 is a big day for Star Wars nerds. Fans all over the globe run around greeting each other with, “May the fourth be with you!” My son’s class is encouraging the kids to come dressed up as Star Wars characters and is allowing light sabers in the classroom. My wife, out of town tonight and most of the day tomorrow, left a note with the greeting on the fridge. It’s going to be a good day, as it is every year.
What’s going to make this year’s May 4th even better is the fact that it’s also McHappy Day. For those who aren’t aware, this is the day that McDonald’s donates proceeds from every Big Mac, hot beverage, or Happy Meal sale to Ronald McDonald House.
I know, I know, McDonald’s isn’t the greatest food in the world, but they do some really great things with the money. My wife and I saw it first hand when we were at McMaster Children’s hospital last year. Our daughter had spinal surgery to correct severe scoliosis and my wife and I qualified to stay at Ronald McDonald House in Hamilton, across the street from the hospital. Avery spent 11 hours in surgery, 18 hours in the pediatric ICU and then 7 days in the hospital ward. Since we only qualified in distance by a couple kilometers, had a great support system between family, friends, and very understanding employers, and the ability to drive back and forth without issue we decided to not take up a room at Ronald McDonald House so that people who were truly out of options could take advantage of the facilities.
What we didn’t know until a couple days at the hospital was that there was a Ronald McDonald House room on our floor. It was a complete and total savior. While our situation and support network didn’t have us feeling like we should have used RMcD House we completely underestimated what kind of toll it would take on us. Knowing that there was a retreat in the middle of the hospital where we could go and get home cooked food, muffins, coffee, and beverages, watch TV, read a newspaper, lounge on the couch, take a nap, or just plain interact with other people was a godsend.
When you’re going through the worst experience that you can imagine, when you’re filled to the brim with worry, it’s little gestures of kindness that make the difference, that keep you hopeful, that let you know that you’re not alone and that there’s at least one thing that you don’t have to worry about.
So please, from a parent who has seen the true value of the services that Ronald McDonald House offers, take your kids to McDonald’s tomorrow. Let them have a Happy Meal. Get yourself a coffee. You can just plain old fashioned donate cash if you want. They’re giving away fancy socks if you donate five bucks!