The veterans of our military services have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. They have dedicated their lives to their country and deserve to be recognized for their commitment. - Judd Gregg
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, We will remember them. - Laurence Binyon (Ode of Remembrance)
I was surprised and disappointed in speaking with a member of the Royal Canadian Legion 285 in Calgary yesterday when he expressed a mix of disappointment and anger that the McDonald’s restaurant in the area would not allow the distribution of poppies in support of November 11th.
In exploring this a little further, I found other McDonald’s restaurants that also did not provide poppies in their restaurants and so I reached out to McDonald’s on Twitter to ask why.
Here was their response:
Not only was I surprised by this but others were as well as evidenced by tweets like this one:
There were some other responses that I can’t even put here.
The men and women who serve and who have served do so to protect our freedom, including the freedom of choice. They serve so that we may be blessed with the freedom to choose what we want to have or not have in our lives and in doing so, they have made sacrifices so that corporations like McDonald’s can make choices like this.
But on the topic of choices, the owner of a McDonald’s franchise cannot opt out of selling Big Macs, McFlurries and the other stuff that serve the corporate brand but can opt out of that which honors the brave men and women who serve in our military, in our reserves and as first responders.
If I owned such a restaurant, one of the things that I would feel blessed by is the fact that the sacrifice of others provides me with the opportunity to make a good living and to create a good living for those who work with me. In recognition of this fact, I would sure as heck want to honor those who have enabled such a Life for me.
And this causes me to wonder, having earned the freedom of choice by way of the sacrifice of others, if we have the wisdom to make the right choices.
Maybe having made their choice that honoring those who serve is optional, that I should make a choice regarding the support of McDonald’s.
The Bottom Line
People we will never know offer their lives, their health, their freedom and yes, even their families, so that we may have our health, our happiness and our freedom.
The gift of freedom of choice is only of value when we know how to honor it wisely.
The least we can do is to say thank you from our heart and show our support whenever we can.
Lest we forget.
In service and servanthood,
Addendum – McDonald’s Responds – November 6, 2014
John Gibson of McDonald’s Corporation was kind enough to supply a response which is outlined below.
With apologies for posting my response before his (I needed to do so in order to post a photo that I took), I have the following items to note in response to his response.
In regards to Mr. Gibson’s comment “Since we cannot place a collection box on the front counter for food safety reasons ….”, I offer three items of note:
- Many other restaurants in Canada do not have such a restriction for safety reasons and I am not aware of any significant cases of customer injury stemming from a poppy box. I was in a competitor restaurant today and their poppy boxes were on the counter where my food was presented.
- The guy standing next to me at a McDonald’s counter could easily have his poppy fall into my food as we wait, therefore I would like to ask other customers to stand back from my food (sorry – I am a literalist and couldn’t resist).
- I took this photo in a McDonald’s restaurant in Calgary today, which would thus appear to be in violation of the policy Mr. Gibson states or prove the fact that McDonald’s can indeed place poppy collection boxes on food counters.
In regards to this comment
All McDonald’s restaurants have the option of providing a location inside or outside the restaurant where Royal Canadian Legion veterans and other authorized volunteers can distribute poppies in person.
it still provides the restaurant with the option to opt out entirely (by not providing a location) or by making it virtually impossible for the Legion to offer poppies (with the need for an excessive number of volunteers), thus allowing a restaurant to say “no” to them without actually saying no, bringing me back to my original blog comments.
In addition, in response to Mr. Gibson’s assertion of a misunderstanding, it is not helpful if their corporate Twitter account points out that restaurants can opt out without further explanation of the opt out process. The 140 character limit on Twitter is not a rationale to explain why a vague response was provided either.
And so while I appreciate Mr. Gibson’s quick and kind response, there appears to be some corporate embellishment contained within that I couldn’t resist responding to.
A Final Thought
I stopped by a McDonald’s in Calgary today and for fun, I asked the manager why there were no poppies available. She informed me that they don’t offer poppies because people steal the donation cans. That may have been a valid reason had she not followed up with the next comment: “And besides, I don’t have a number for the Royal Canadian Legion so I can’t find them to have poppies brought over.”
I don’t think they are too hard to find.
I salute McDonald’s for their support of the men and women in service to our nation as explained by Mr. Gibson but perhaps the misunderstanding Mr. Gibson refers to stems more from inconsistent execution on their part than anything else.