PlayPlaces should be a place where kids can play safely and have a great time after eating too much junk food, but things always seem to go so wrong. From gross little kids to their poorly behaved parents, apparently anything goes in PlayPlaces.
The Tubes Are Filled With Unspeakable Horrors
“I used to work for a McDonald’s that was right off a highway. That fact is relevant because we never had less than 25 kids in our PlayPlace. Being literally the only person who was small enough to fit inside the tubes, I was asked to clean up a mess inside the rocket. Thinking it’s a wrapper/food mess, I was perfectly okay with cleaning it up. Boy was I wrong. A kid who was still in diapers thought it was a great idea to take off his diaper and proceed to crap all over the front of the rocket. There were handprints, pictures, and just giant smears of the stuff everywhere. Apparently another kid found this masterpiece and vomited. I grabbed six pairs of gloves, two dust masks, paper towels, and enough cleaning solution to clean the bottom of a garbage truck. I didn’t work at that McDonald’s much longer after that.”
The Poor Kids Had No Idea What Had Happened
“I worked there when I was 16. One night a pair of kids, guessing 5 and 7, were playing in the PlayPlace. They came in and said their grandpa had brought them, he’d fallen asleep in the car, and they couldn’t wake him up. He’d had a massive heart attack and died while they were playing. Crazier part was when I was leaving for the night, a person pulled up, probably in their young twenties, and asked what happened there earlier. I said, ‘Oh, somebody had a heart attack.’ They started screaming that it was their dad and asked where they took him. I had no idea, but was definitely not going to be the one that told her he was dead.”
The Poor Kid Probably Wishes He’d Never Reported It In The First Place
“I worked at a McDonald’s 6-7 years ago and once a child peed at the top of the PlayPlace. It’s a split level the whole way up, so it became a cascading waterfall of urine. This is where things get weird.
McDonald’s is an equal opportunity employer and we had hired a mentally handicapped lady to clean the dining area. She was the first employee alerted to the situation BY ONE OF THE CHILDREN, but not the one who’d made the mess in the first place. This mentally handicapped lady immediately scolded the child and told him to clean it up and gave him a towel. This child did as he was told and began crying as he became drenched with pee; he ran out of the play place and explained to his mother what had transpired.
The mother (furious) stormed to the counter to demand a manager. She inevitably prepared to sue and McDonald’s settled out of court for a large, undisclosed amount. The cleaning lady was dismissed. I should also mention that yours truly had to clean the PlayPlacein the end.”
His Presence Was Definitely Cause For Concern
“One time, I was working the late shift on a Saturday and I started seeing people leaving the play area in a hurry. So I poked my head around the corner to try and see what was going on. When I finally got a good look, I saw a man who looked like an average joe walking around the PlayPlace. I did a double take and saw a VERY large knife on his side, and he wasn’t trying to hide it. He was pacing back and forth and it looked like he was talking to himself. 16-year-old me was freaking out. So I called the police then got my manager, and she instructed all of us to stay in the back (it was really late and close to closing, so we weren’t worried about customers) while she handled it. Soon, the cops showed up, got the man in cuffs, and took him away.”
It Wasn’t That The Kid Got Sick, It Was What His Pals Did Afterwards
“I worked at McDonald’s as a teenager years ago. The worst experience ever was one night where I was at the register. A couple of my coworkers and I were chatting with a clear view of the PlayPlace. There were about six kids in the play area with all the parents in the regular lobby, not paying attention to what any of their children were doing.
From where we were at the counter, we spot a kid in the corner of the PlayPlace, we could only see his shoulders heaving back and forth. We all thought it was weird, and were trying to figure out what he was doing. My coworker said, ‘You know, it almost looks like he’s gonna-‘
And then the kid PUKED all over the floor.
As if that wasn’t disgusting enough: I kid you not, a few seconds later all his little friends came over and start playing in it like it was a water puddle or something. By this time, we all let out such a shriek of utter terror that it was loud enough for the parents to finally realize that their disgusting kids were doing something and finally got off their butts to go fix it.
Being the newest crew member at the time, I knew it would be my responsibility to clean up all of this, so somehow I managed to compartmentalize my horror long enough to rush over to my manager and take my half hour break.
So yeah, I quit a week later.”
It’s Not Just The Kids That Misbehave
“It started as a fairly average Monday morning. I began my shift as usual and watched over the kids. For the most part, there weren’t too many incidents. A couple of kids got into a small fight, but we usually don’t step in unless it’s anything serious.
It was getting kind of late, and I only had an hour left. Two kids got into a pretty big argument, (lots of hair pulling, pushing, etc.) I was feeling pretty tired that day, probably still hung over from the night before. Didn’t really bother to do anything because it looked like their parents noticed.
One of the kids was fairly older than the other one, and the mother of the younger kid was pretty ticked off that her kid was being bullied. The mother of the older kid was your typical, lazy parent who doesn’t give a crap about what their child gets up to, and insisted it wasn’t her problem.
Now, the mother of the younger kid looked extremely ticked off before they had even begun to talk. I could visibly see her face growing redder and redder as each second passed. She told the other mom that she should bother to raise her kid properly, and said that her daughter should give her child an apology.
The other mother just shrugged it off and turned away. Apparently, the mother of the younger girl didn’t like that because, within seconds, she had grabbed her by the hair and slammed her face into one of the plastic slides.
The rest of the kids simply watched in horror as the mother proceeded to push the woman headfirst into the ball pit while desperately trying to kick her in the head. The last thing I saw, she jumped up and tried to elbow drop her pro-wrestling style.
I quickly got my manager, who called the police. The mother was thrown into the police car, and I’m pretty sure they had to get an ambulance for the other women. Needless to say, the PlayPlace was closed early that day. They didn’t reopen it for almost a week.”
They Were Alone For Hours Before Anyone Realized It
“A lady left her two young children in the PlayPlace for four hours while she went shopping at some thrift store. Eventually, a nice old woman came and told me they were there and didn’t seem to have a guardian present. So, of course, I called the cops. When the mother finally returned, she admitted that she did it a few times a week.”
She Went Down The Slide, Right Into His Gropey Hands
“I worked at Burger King in high school. My worst experience with the PlayPlace had nothing to do with the kids.
I had a coworker who was trying to get me to get intimate with him by threatening to expose that I was no longer a virgin to everyone at school and work. He would spend all night talking to me on the headset, asking me to go down on him or else. I was really upset and unnerved, but I was just counting the minutes until I could leave work and get away from him. One night, I was cleaning the tunnels and then took the final trip down the slide, only to slide right into two hands groping me on the insides of my thighs. I immediately went to the supervisor on duty and told her what was going on.
He wasn’t actually fired for the inappropriate touching or the harassment – we were just put on separate shifts so we didn’t have to run into each other. A week later, he threw a soda on the truck of a male coworker who also knew the same sensitive information about me, but wasn’t going around threatening to expose me over it. THAT is when he got fired.”
What’s More Disgusting, The Original Incident Or How One Mom Responded?
“Kid vomited and proceeded to pick up fistfuls of chunks and throw them at other children, who then vomited.
We closed the PlayPlace for like two weeks to have the whole thing heavy duty cleaned and sterilized by a hire-out company. During that time, a woman got ticked off that her kids couldn’t play. She yelled, ‘I’ll show you clean,’ ripped the hazard tape off the door, broke the lock on the door, and proceeded to put her finger down her throat and barf all over.
This was right before I quit. The last thing I heard, she was trying to sue our owner, stating that the chemicals in the PlayPlace (which she broke into) made her so sick, she was hospitalized.”
Many A Kid Fell Into The Trash Can’s Trap
“I will now tell the story of the best thing I ever saw in PlayPlace. This was at Burger King, not McDonald’s. In the South, these things are all simply called ‘playlands.’
A few years ago, my kids and I were eating at Burger King and of course, we had to eat in playland because, kids. Burger King had, at this time, installed talking garbage cans in there. It was probably intended as a way to get kids to throw their own trash away so employees wouldn’t have to do it so much. Whoever designed those things knew nothing about children.
When you put trash into the talking trash can, pushing your garbage in past that plastic spring-loaded flap which says THANK YOU on it, the trash can would say, ‘Thanks for the garbage!’ or something like that. You know, things a talking trash can would say.
ANY PARENT could tell you what would happen next. Children know that trash cans can not actually speak. So each successive child, having been congratulated by the trash can, would do the obvious thing, and put his head inside the trash can to see who is in there.
Then the spring-loaded THANK YOU flap would swing shut and grab the children by the neck in the manner of a squirrel trap, and they could not get their heads back out, and there would be flailing and muffled screaming, and they would have to be rescued by their mom.
This happened over and over and OVER. Kids of a certain age will put their heads in a talking trash can even if they just saw the last kid get garroted by it. It kind of makes them even more curious. Just one kid after another getting choked by this evil instrument of torture. ‘THANKS FOR THE TRASH!’
It was the best thing I have ever seen. Kids leave, new kids take their place, new victims for the magic trash can. I never got tired of it. Next time we went to Burger King, they weren’t there anymore, but I hope someday they will come back for another try.”
The Kids All Turned On Her
“I worked at a McDonald’s in Colorado as a teen. We had a complete play area (indoors) that was decked out with a large ball pen and a fairly long system of plastic tubes/rope ladders that was topped off with a little observation area at the top. I remember looking at it and thinking, this was the one redeeming attribute of the entire ‘restaurant,’ a cool place for kids to exercise and just be kids
It turned out to be not so magical. I was the youngest and most easily intimidated of my employee cohorts. One day, we got a complaint from a parent that some kid had painted the inside of the observation room with a Big Mac. I was tasked with climbing up the rope ladders, through the cramped tubing to get to the top. I thought this would be fun at first, but the thing is, kids are mean and parents did not police their kids at all. I was stunned. Basically, these parents would just sit down and let them go ape. Kids pelted me with those little plastic balls, which didn’t hurt, but it was pretty demoralizing. Eventually, the rest of the kids all joined in, as if this was Disneyland and I was one of those paid actors passing through to entertain them. I was astonished that the parents did nothing. One girl, maybe 7 or 8, kept grabbing my butt. I did get to the top, and the smell of that generic McDonald’s cleaning solution in that small area at least kept the kids away, but it burned my eyes.
Was paid $5.20/hr back in 2000. Definitely not worth it.”
The Town’s Creepy Lady Makes An Unexpected Appearance
“We used to have this crazy and kinda creepy girl in our town who was probably in her mid-20’s, but she would walk around dressed like an 8-year-old girl. She was also homeless.
I worked overnight shift with two other employees, one of which was a manager. Often, when things would slow down and our cleanup was done, we would sit in the dining room, which was the coolest part of the store (temperature-wise) and talk. Well, one night, we were all sitting there at a table hanging out and talking. We were on the other side of the dining room from the PlayPlace and our view of its door was blocked by a dividing wall. My fellow employee and I were sitting next to each other at the table. The manager was sitting across from us and looking down at her phone as we were talking. She looked up and an expression of horror flashed over her face and she screamed. We both jumped and turned to look behind us. The crazy, homeless girl was standing there in a nightie, holding a teddy bear, looking uber creepy, but also like she just woke up. We both WTF’ed in unison. Once the shock wore off after a couple seconds of the three of us staring at her and her staring back, she blinked several times, yawned, and walked past us into the bathroom.
Apparently, she had been sneaking in to sleep in the PlayPlace at night. From that point on, the manager always had someone go in and check the PlayPlace before she closed the dining room.”
That Slide Holds Dark Memories For The Workers
“When I was 15, I started my first job at McDonald’s. It was my 2nd week, so I was still very new, young and timid. The manager came out and told us one of the kids had thrown up in the playground. Myself and another kid named Joseph were quickly nominated to clean it up.
So we filled a bucket full of hot water and soap, grabbed the mop, and went to the playground. It was one of those spacey, rocket themed playgrounds with lots of enclosed areas and slides. We made our way inside and instantly the smell made me gag. Joseph took the lead and found the vomit at the top of the slide, so we started mopping it all up and when we were done we were left with a bucket full of a spewy, watery cocktail and the vomit to water ratio was pretty high.
We wanted to get out of that playground ASAP and Joseph thought it would be a good idea to take the closest exit, which just so happened to be the slide. So he took the bucket, placed it between his legs and slid down. He instantly dropped the bucket right at the top and proceeded to ride the spewy water slide all the way down to the bottom. He was soaked from head to toe and was gagging all over the place.
It stunk, he stunk, he couldn’t come back into the restaurant in front of customers, so the manager had to give him a towel and send him home.
I’m pretty sure he had another 5 hours left on his shift, but they paid him for the full day, so it wasn’t a complete bust for him.
Joseph, your stupidity, and sacrifice will never be forgotten. Thanks for the memories.”
“Since He Was A Little Kid, He Didn’t Grasp The Concept Of Shame”
“One time my mother took us (my two brothers and I) to McDonald’s, but not just any McDonald’s, this one had a HUGE PlayPlace. I’m the oldest and was around 10 at the time, one of my brothers was 3-4 and the other was just a baby.
So I was eating with my mother and my baby brother (the other one was in the PlayPlace) when I heard a little girl say, ‘LOOK! He’s naked!’ and I immediately knew who she was talking about.
You see, my brother was going through a time in his life where he liked to get naked, all the time, for no apparent reason. And since he was a little kid, he still didn’t grasp the concept of shame or, ‘You can’t get naked in a freaking PlayPlace!’ So, there he was, at the highest point of the PlayPlace, which was like a hub with a BIG ‘window’ made of transparent plastic.
If all of this wasn’t enough, the place was almost unreachable by adults since it required some crazy dexterity skills people lose when they turn 20, so I had to chase my naked brother all around the PlayPlace. Yeah, CHASE, ’cause the little brat took it as a game and started running around, gigglin’ and jigglin’.
Eventually, I caught him and delivered to mother bear, but the problem wasn’t even near solved. I don’t know if he planned this, but he buried his clothes in the ball pit, so, you guessed it, off we (I) went to dive there and find all his pieces of clothing.
But I also found a Hot Wheels happy meal toy there, so it was a good day.”
The Car Fire Wasn’t His Fault, But What Happened After Definitely Was
“Right as I got to work at 5 pm, a car caught on fire. My manager called 911 as I grabbed the nearest fire extinguisher. I was out there trying to put the fire out, but the hood had melted to the car, so I did what I could by using the extinguisher under the front tires, under the front of the car, on top of the hood, yet what I was doing seemed to be having no effect. After about five minutes of trying, the fire was only getting worse and my manager called me away for my safety.
I came back inside and put down the fire extinguisher. While we waited for either the fire department to show up or the car to explode, I was told to start sweeping and mopping up PlayLand. Since the dinner rush was starting and all the kids (and parents) had their faces pressed up against the windows watching the fire, it was a good distraction that would allow us to get the place cleaned, ninja style. As I went about my work, some kid somehow got bored of the hot fiery action outside and decided to investigate the fire extinguisher that was left in case we needed it again. Now, this was not a normal fire extinguisher that you would think of. It was a larger, metal one that shot out this green liquid that I think was meant for grease fires or something. It was the one I got from the back by the grills, not knowing that we have a normal one up front. I had only been working there for a little bit. That’s probably why it didn’t really help put out the fire in the first place. So this kid, who had no adult watching him, grabbed the hose and started spraying out this green extinguisher EVERYWHERE. Seats, play-place, people, you name it. The kid’s parents took notice pretty quickly and grabbed him. They apologized and asked what they can do to fix it, but management told them it’s fine. They then offered a free cone to everyone who was there for the inconvenience. And since I was new and left the extinguisher there, guess who had to clean up.”
That’s No Way For The Owner To Act Towards A Photographer!
“I worked at a Mickey D’s way back in the day and before I started, a kid climbed on top of the equipment, fell off, and broke his arm. A photographer came to the store to take photographs of the equipment for the pending lawsuit. The store manager gave the okay, and the guy went out to do what he came to do. The owner of our franchise came in, found out that the guy was outside on the playground, and went out to confront the guy. After a few heated comments, the store owner started to SHOVE THE PHOTOGRAPHER, telling him not so nicely to ‘get off my property’ with kids watching! All these kids came running into the store, screaming and crying, while parents tried to dodge the now full-out fist battle on the playground. Two grown men, screaming and punching while kids were screaming like crazy.
I didn’t last long at that job.”