You don’t have to be a child to enjoy a happy meal from McDonald’s. Just ask the residents of Mountain View Care Center in Boulder City.
Last month, all of the residents were treated to a hamburger or cheeseburger meal, complete with french fries and an apple pie, courtesy of the local eatery and one of the resident’s family.
Judy Leonard, 66, has been living at Mountain View Care Center for about five years, said her father, Fred Leonard, 89, of Henderson. She is mentally “like a baby” and unable to care for herself, he added.
Fred Leonard said he moved his daughter to the facility after taking care of her by himself for 27 years after his wife died. As he aged, he realized she needed to be at a place where someone could take care of her in case he could not.
“Fred was concerned that if he didn’t wake up, she wouldn’t be able to call 911,” said their neighbor and longtime friend Teri Engel.
Mountain View was the most homelike place he found that wasn’t too far from his home, he said.
Leonard, along with Teri and Tom Engel, visit Judy Leonard on a regular basis and try to bring her treats from the restaurant at least once a month. They noticed that whenever they brought in McDonald’s the other residents would comment about smelling french fries and how they missed eating there.
Even though they tried to “hide” the bags from the restaurant, the smell of the french fries permeated the hallways.
Through their visits, Leonard and Teri Engel have gotten to know many of the other residents and they wanted to do something special for them. Many have no family and only receive $35 a month to spend on necessary personal items and extras, such as dinner from McDonald’s, Engel said.
So they decided to treat everyone to a hamburger or cheeseburger meal. When they went to McDonald’s to tell them about their idea, general manager Ruben Benitez contacted the franchise’s owner and the restaurant agreed to help sponsor the meal.
“We’re not just all about business,” Benitez said. “We also help out and give back to the community.”
Underwriting about half the cost of the dinner was just one way they could help and give back, he said. In all, about 75 residents were treated to dinner.
Benitez said they staff and owners were happy they could make “the seniors’ day better” and they hope they can do something similar in the future.
Leonard and Engel said the experience was “pretty cool” and the smiles on everyone’s faces has inspired them to do this again.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.