Welcome to McHappy Day – No Crips Allowed

There I was, strolling through the Disability Parking Wall of Shame on facebook, when posts started popping up about McHappy Day.

McHappy Day, for those who didn’t know (I didn’t), is a McDonald’s fundraising initiative. McDonald’s makes a lot of noise about their work supporting children with severe illnesses and disabilities in hospital, providing family accommodation, and so on. (Of course, McDonald’s has also been rightly criticised for selling large amounts of junk food, for marketing directly to children, for environmental destruction and animal cruelty and labour issues, etc.) McHappy Day is an international day of fundraising for Ronald McDonald House. McDonald’s has various celebrities come in to their stores, they have children’s activities, it’s all supposed to be a bit of fun for a good cause, not to mention terrific publicity for McDonald’s.

So what happened at McHappy Day last Saturday? Kathleen Robertson, a woman with an ACROD (Disability Parking) permit, was looking to head in to McDonald’s at Tuart Hill, WA. She arrived only to find that McDonald’s had a bouncy castle set up in the ACROD disability parking bay. No other accessible parking bay was available – so Kathleen left.

Another Facebook user then noted in comments that the McDonald’s near them, in Western Sydney, had also blocked off the accessible parking on McHappy Day. Then another user noted that their local McDonald’s in Paralowie, South Australia, also had their disability parking blocked off.

Then? The Wanneroo Central Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade then posted a photo to their page. “Crews are currently helping out at McDonald’s Currambine for McHappy Day. Stop in and say hello!” it said. The accompanying photograph? Well, here it is. Right in a blue space.

A fire truck is parked in a clearly marked disability parking bay. The parking area is also closed off with sandwich boards and milk crates.

After being called out on it, the Bush Fire Brigade quietly deleted the photograph from their page. No apology has yet been forthcoming, either from them or from McDonald’s. Stay tuned.

The photo from above in context on Facebook, with the 'crews are helping out' caption. One comment reads 'Stop in and say hello, as long as you don't need to use the ACROD parking spot, right? Something that many of the families that use McDonald's House need to use because of their disabled or chronically ill children.'

Categories: disability, social justice

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2 replies

  1. AAGH. That is all terrible.

    I am consistently disappointed, although unfortunately not surprised, by such complete thoughtlessness (quite literally) and selfishness.

    • Appalling, all of it. It’s probably happened every year in some places, but this year they got some social media pushback. I hope it does some good.

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