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August 13, 2020

McDonald’s showed my family the true meaning of community

Quotation marks
Jennifer J.Global Corporate Technology Service Desk ManagerIllinois, USA

I’ve been with McDonald’s for many years – 20 years in October, if you count my early consulting years – and I’m grateful to have built so many great relationships in that time. I try to do the right thing for my individual customers, my colleagues, our markets and our vendors – that's just part of how I do my job, and how McDonald’s operates.

Last year, I learned what makes our McDonald’s community truly exceptional. On the morning of Friday, March 15, 2019, I was working from home when our neighbor’s car caught fire. Due to high winds and proximity, we had to evacuate and watch our house burn down as firefighters attempted to douse the flames. It was horrible to stand in our neighbor’s driveway in the cold, drizzling March weather, with my husband by my side, our cat in a carrier and my 7-year-old son at school, knowing that I would have to go pick him up at the end of the day and tell him that our home was gone.

On that terrible day, the McDonald’s family rallied around us in ways we never expected.

In the spirit of community, they were truly good neighbors.

A house that’s been burned by a fire.

Jennifer’s home was badly damaged in a fire in 2019.

My VP told me to take whatever time we needed. My Senior Director was just worried that we were alright. Within hours, a few colleagues had setup a voluntary GoFundMe page for our family, shared it internally and on social media. Within days, the donations both named and anonymous from the McDonald’s community were humbling. Those donations helped us to have quick access to emergency funds that we needed to buy clothes, a few toys for our boy who had lost everything, food for our temporary hotel room, and a little bit of comfort as we sifted through the cold, wet remains of our home.

Over the next few weeks, many of my colleagues arrived at our hotel bearing gifts of comfort, hugs, and thanks for our lives. We were utterly staggered by the outpouring of generosity and kindness and we will never forget how the arms of the McFamily so generously helped to cushion our fall.

I am happy to say that after 53 weeks of living in temporary housing, we were able to return to our newly rebuilt home on Monday, March 23, 2020, the day after the state of Illinois shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. We have had the good fortune to be back in our home throughout the duration of the lockdown – and for that, too, I am eternally grateful.

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