For the most part, an average trip to McDonald's is just that - average. People walk in (or drive-thru), order their food, and leave. It's as easy as 1, 2, 3. But while that might be true for 99% of the time, there are times where a quick trip to the golden arches is anything but quick and easy. Sometimes, it can be quite intense.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share their most intense experience at the world's largest burger joint. Whether they were dining in, taking out, or going through the drive-thru, these people experienced something that left them not "loving it." All posts have been edited for clarity.
"I once saw a woman become irate and throw four cheeseburgers at the kid behind the counter because she ordered double cheeseburgers instead of what she got. At the time, singles were 99 cents and doubles were a dollar, so she kept screaming, 'It's only a penny more, why would you even think I wanted the singles, how stupid do I look?'
One at a time, she carried the burgers back up to the counter. I think she started throwing them when he took her at her word and didn't unwrap them and saw for himself how wrong he was.
She was looking for validation he was not offering.
Oh, and that woman was my mother.
I should say my mother more than likely has a borderline personality disorder. I'm not making excuses for her at all, but she has a history of treating waitstaff and cashiers badly for as long as I can remember despite working in retail most all of her life. This story is just the tip of the iceberg."
"I had a cashier bump into me super hard, I'm talking full shoulder check, just to run a bag out curbside. When he came back in, I said, 'Most people just say excuse me.'
This guy flipped his lid and shoved me, so I shoved him back much harder. Before he could get back up, his manager was already apologizing to me and fired the guy on the spot. He gave me free food and coupons. Management even called me a few days later to hear my side and apologized again. They sent me a $50 gift card for my trouble.
I would give that McDonald's 8/10 because the food was good, but the staff was a bit rude."
"There were some week-old dead bodies found in a van our parking lot when I worked there. We were situated right next to an apartment complex, and sometimes people from there would park in our parking lot. We didn't particularly care. I guess the different shifts just assumed the van in the very back wasn't there during other shifts if we even noticed it at all.
Anyway, we had a group of old guys that would hang out in the store, drink coffee, and play dominos. I guess the wind was blowing just the right way, one of them noticed the smell, went to check it out, and surprise! Cops got called, and the smell was way more noticeable when they opened up that van. It was the height of summer, in Hampton Roads, Virginia, so it'd gotten quite hot in there.
We later found out that they both overdoses on something or another. I also got to go home because of the way the cops taped the area off and blocked off the drive-thru. So that was a plus."
"When I was 7 or 8, my dad and I were always at McDonald's getting the sundaes and fries. One day when we went, there was a homeless man out front asking for food or money. When the guy asked my dad for money, my dad told the guy to hold on and that we would return with our change after we ordered.
So we ordered, my dad gave the guy our $2 change or whatever, and then we went back inside and got our food.
A couple of minutes later, the homeless man was inside the store going table to table with a pocket knife, robbing the customers in the store. He robbed like three families, and then walked past our table and just nodded his head to my dad.
I had my back to the guy during this, so I didn't know about it until after he left the store, but it's still scary!"
"My roommate got robbed at a McDonald's. He needed some cash and put his PlayStation3 up on Craigslist. A guy messaged him and they agreed to meet at McDonald's, my roommate explicitly said $100 in cash.
At the McDonald's, the guy handed him a check. My roommate started to say something when the guy lifted up his shirt, showing a weapon in his waistband. Take a check over a bullet, right?
He went to the bank to cash it, and in a couple of minutes, the cops were there and my roommate was in handcuffs in the back of a cop car. The check was from a dead woman and my roommate had committed bank fraud.
They were able to get it all worked out, but he never got his PlayStation3 back or the money."
"Apparently, a McDonald's cashier dated my doppelganger. She died about a week before I waltzed into Mickey D's just looking for some nuggets. That was, by all means, pretty intense. It wasn't anything I did wrong, but boy did I feel awful.
I didn't know the guy who was originally at the register. At all. He just... melted to the floor and broke down sobbing. His coworker, a young man I actually knew through my dad's business, was the one who took over at the register after the first guy had been ushered off by one of those 'mom' manager types. I hope she sent the poor kid home. He obviously needs more than a week to process grief.
The guy who took over, let's call him T, apologized for his coworkers 'behavior' to me.
I said something to the effect of, 'No dude, it's fine. Is he okay?'
T just kind of sighed and looked around. There was nobody really there, so he said, 'Yeah, he'll be okay, it's just awkward. His girl passed away last week in a not-so-nice way and you look like you could be her twin. You probably just shocked him is all.'
I felt so bad. I don't have any more details but the way T phrased it I'm thinking either a bad suicide, car crash, or gang activity."
"I was sitting in the drive-thru at a 24-hour McDonald's after coming back from the bars around 3 am. It was summer, so I was sitting with the windows open, and I was on the passenger side.
I saw someone in the wing mirror coming out from the woods behind us, and as the guy approached my window, he asked for cash. I told him I didn't carry any, so he asked for food instead. We'd already passed by the ordering speaker and were waiting to pick up, so I told him we couldn't, and to try someone else in line.
The next part was a little weird because he then asked if I wanted to buy a knife. I shrugged it off, said not really, and reminded him that I didn't have any cash. He flipped the knife open, reached through the window, and waved it in my face. I agreed that it was pretty cool, but I still didn't need a knife.
He finally left and walked off down the street. It wasn't until I was sitting at home that I realized he may have been trying to mug me, and very easily could have messed me up."
"I caught the tail end of an argument between an elderly homeless man and a guy in his late-20s. The homeless man was chasing the other guy away with a ketchup squirt bottle that was, strangely enough, not from McDonald's; he pulled it out of his cart outside the main entrance. He was squirting it in his direction but none got on him.
The younger guy pretended to walk around the corner, and when the elderly man had his back turned, he ran back and sucker punched him across the jaw. The elderly homeless man didn't get up for about 20 minutes while the younger dude ran off before the cops came."
"I had just moved to a new city and went to get McDonald's. I figured I'd eat inside since they had chairs and tables that weren't surrounded by boxes. I didn't have a ton of money at the time, and so the neighborhood was kind of sketch.
I went in at around 9 pm and there were a handful of folks eating inside that all looked like the kind of sad-life havers that are eating inside McDonald's at 9 pm on a Wednesday. There was a family with like 37 kids at two tables pushed together with a dad that looked like he just got off work, some sad and lonely dudes that were probably homeless, myself who looked awful because I had been unpacking a Uhaul all day. I ordered and was standing by the food pickup area waiting for my meal when this guy walked in and had crazy eyes and a weird shaky gait.
Immediately, everyone was watching this guy because he was just giving off these weird vibes. Even the kids who had been shouting airplane noises for their Happy Meal toys went silent.
The guy ambled up to the cashier like a tangled up marionette and planted both hands on the counter to hold himself up and mumbled something. The girl at the register was like 'What?'
This guy just exploded backward and shouted, 'The Monienowwwooo,' which whimpered out at the end and was absolutely terrifying for some reason. And then he started pulling something shiny out of his dirty jean jacket and my brain was registering that I might die unfed in a McDonald's when I saw an arm and a tray explode into the back of the guy's neck.
One of the homeless guys had apparently snuck up from his seat like a greasy ninja and sorta pushed the tray edge-wise into the back of the guy's neck.
And so he gurgled and screamed as it seemed like his strings had been cut and he crumpled to the ground, cracking his jaw on the counter.
Everyone was looking around like 'Did this just happen' and the superhobo grabbed the weapon with his index finger and thumb like it was a stinky diaper and set it down on the counter in front of the horrified register girl.
And then he looked at all of us, bent down to check out the guy on the ground, then our homeless hero pulled out the robber's wallet, did this cartoonish back and forth look like he wanted to make sure the coast was clear, and he booked it out the door.
I decided to eat at home and stuck to the drive-thru after that."
"In Tampa, a boyfriend and girlfriend were arguing in Spanish. I'm not sure what about because I don't know anything other than a few words/phrases. I can't judge whether or not it was serious because she was loud, he was loud and she was throwing food at him. French fries to the face, that sort of thing. He lost it when she let loose some nugget sauce on his white shirt. He literally backhanded her into the wall then went straight to the bathroom. Well, that didn't fly. That woman followed him into the men's restroom where the fight continued. Police were called and both were arrested. That woman beat the living daylights out of him though. Employees had to clean up broken glass because the trash can ended up on the sink counter and the hand dryer was hanging off the wall.
Another time, I was with a handful of friends on a Sunday afternoon. There was a family sitting by the door and one of them, a young woman maybe early 20s, who looked a bit green. She was pale, sweaty, and just looked like she didn't feel well. A few minutes later, she scooted to the toilet which was behind us. She must have been in there for at least 20 minutes. Long enough for the people she was sitting with, a family of five, to finish their food. She emerged from the bathroom quickly, and said something and the family up and left rather quickly. We were finally finishing up, friends were heading off, and my cousin decided to go use the restroom. I heard her gagging in the hallway before I was even finished going to the restroom. Apparently, the poor girl who wasn't feeling well painted the walls of the stall in explosive diarrhea and vomited all over the toilet.
We stopped sitting near the restrooms after that."
"I was finishing work one night and was dead tired when I went in the drive-thru. I placed my order and when I went to the window to pick up my order, this girl marched up, handed me the bag and said, 'Look mate, you better not come here again or I'll call the cops - I see you all the time coming in the drive-thru wasted,' and slammed the window shut. I was confused because I rarely get McDonald's, and it was my first time there as the store had only been open four months.
I was furious. I parked, got out, and went inside with my order demanding to see the manager. I explained what happened and that I wanted a refund. It turns out someone with a similar (not same) car had been coming through and hitting the curb which was seen on their CCTV. To make matters worse, at the time, I lived near a state border where number plates varied - mine was a New South Wales rego which was yellow and black and the other car was a Queensland rego which was white and green.
I got my refund but they let me keep the food."
"We have a decently sized homeless population, so they would usually end up at McDonald's. It was not uncommon to see them dig in the trash cans that were in the store before being kicked out by staff.
But one time, as I was eating lunch with a friend, some homeless dude came in, dug in the trash, found a receipt, and walked up and demanded a replacement as he was unsatisfied. The employees told him to get out, but he got belligerent and started cussing them out. The manager tried to dispel the affair, but the homeless guy started shouting how he was then entitled to a free hamburger because he was a Vietnam vet, he had PTSD, 'couldn't get no luck,' among other things that he repeated. Then he started holding up the line.
Finally, a bigger dude walked up to the scrawny fellow and told him to leave or he would make him leave. So he walked out."
"I don't know if intense is the best word for it, 'memorably bad' is probably more accurate.
It was Valentine's Day my sophomore year of high school. I went on a double date to McDonald's because they had a Valentine's Day deal for the Nuggets and I was 15 and hated myself, I guess. I was there with a dude I'd been dating for like a week and another couple that we went to school with.
My date was a prick and he kept making super uncomfortable jokes about me and him and the dude in the other relationship 'Eiffel Towering.' I didn't know what that meant at the time, so I was just very confused, and the other dude was uncomfortable and his girlfriend was understandably angry.
After uncomfortably eating our food, the girlfriend of the other couple decided she had enough, and so she and her boyfriend essentially abandoned us at the McDonald's. Neither my date or I had a car, so we were stranded there. I ended up getting a ride home from one of my date's friends, and I'm like 90% sure he was wasted. It was one of the most terrifying car rides of my life, I really thought I was about to die on Valentine's Day on my way home from McDonald's.
I didn't die, though, but ended things with the dude shortly after. Last I saw, he was on trial for assaulting someone. Bullet dodged.
Side note, at the McDonald's that night, there was someone selling 'mini pigs' out of a white van in the parking lot. I'm willing to bet anything they were actually just regular piglets."
"There was a girl in the median at the stoplight I was at with a sign that said, 'Hungry.' I was hungry too, so I rolled down my window and told her to meet me at the McDonald's and I would buy her lunch as it was just across the street.
We met inside and she was very quiet. She ordered a meal and sat down. When our food came, I asked if it was alright if I sat with her and she said yes. I asked her a couple of 'get to know you' type questions and she answered very normally, but she did mention several difficult things she was going through at the time. One of which was her recent ex-boyfriend. He was abusive and violent so she had run away.
I asked if she was worried he would find her, and she said no because he couldn't put on shoes. This sounded odd to me, so I asked her to explain. She then went into this long explanation of the computers in our brains that control our actions and how the government puts them there to keep tabs on us. Someone had apparently hacked her boyfriend's computer and disabled his ability to put on shoes, which prevented him from leaving the house. This was also why she couldn't find a job since you couldn't go to work without shoes on. Apparently, her pink fuzzy slipper sandals didn't bother the computer.
I told her that I didn't have a computer in my brain, and she just stared out the window and said, 'That's what they want you to think.'
I had to leave for an appointment, so I bought her a McDonald's gift card for later and left."
"Back in the bygone days of the 1990s, as part of a promotion for the live-action Inspector Gadget movie, certain McDonald's menu items came with different toys which, when plugged together, formed a complete Inspector Gadget figure (vaguely resembling Matthew Broderick).
Now, these weren't the average Happy Meal toys that you could probably find at a dollar store -- someone put actual effort and creativity into these and for a tiny, brief window of space and time, if you had the entire Inspector Gadget body, you were instantly the cool kid. Inspector Gadget's neck really extended, like it did in the movie. The fan in his chest really spun. His arm also a squirted water. It was honestly genius marketing, far better than the movie actually deserved.
The thing was, though, it seemed like they made getting every piece deliberately hard. We'd go to McDonald's, order the meal, and there in the box would be Inspector Gadget's left arm. Great, now we have three of those.
My family didn't eat at fast food chains much and still avoids them generally speaking, but because my mom was that kind of parent, she vowed to keep taking me to McDonald's until I had the entire set of toys, and could finally put Inspector Gadget together. This proved to be harder than either of us thought.
Two or three left arms later, we were both visibly frustrated. We both knew that the toys would soon be replaced by some fresh new marketing scheme, so time was of the essence. Then one day, as we were both in line to order, we caught a glimpse of the kitchen prep area behind the counter. They had them all. Dozens of the pieces I had been missing, just sitting in their cardboard boxes. The largest and most sought after part was the torso, which all the other pieces clipped onto. Those pricks had only been giving out the arms to my friends and me, for a whole week.
By this point, my mom was pretty annoyed. The first thing she asked was whether she could simply buy the toy without the food since it couldn't be worth more than a few bucks. But the lady behind the counter said that no, in order to get the toy, you had to buy the meal. And that there really was no way of guaranteeing which part you were going to get. Then she looked directly at me and smirked. I got it then. This lady hated children. She didn't want me to have the complete set and was deriving pleasure from denying me and other kids the opportunity.
My mom asked the lady if she'd like to step to the side to talk, so as to not hold up the line. What followed was several tense minutes of death glaring and sizing-up. I don't know exactly what my mom said to her, but the lady never made eye contact with me again. She went in the back for a bit, then took off her uniform and walked out the door. No one inside said a word, only stared. When I opened the box inside the meal, there was Inspector Gadget's torso.
It felt like Christmas morning on the drive back home. I was the only kid I knew who had the entire Gadget figure assembled. I've never forgotten that, all these years later."