McDonald's can be a crazy place, both for the customers and the employees. It doesn't matter the time of day or day of the week, there's a good chance that something will go wrong. And when things do go wrong, it's usually not pretty.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share the worst thing they've ever seen at McDonald's, and the responses were something else. Take a look at some of the best stories from customer and employee alike, as they try to shed some light on what it's like to be a witness when things get out of hand under the golden arches. All posts have been edited for clarity.
They Thought She’d Been Abandoned
“I’ve seen a lot in my five-year tenure at McDonald’s, but probably the most dramatic thing was when a guy left his 4-year-old daughter there in the play place all day by herself.
I was working out there cleaning and making sure everything was in order and on the tail side of the lunch rush I noticed this girl sitting at a table by herself looking kind of distraught. I kept my eye on her for about 15 minutes and when I realized her parent had been gone longer than a bathroom trip, I asked her if she was ok. She was really shy but finally told me her dad left her there. I went and talked to my manager who was terrified by what I told him. She told me to make sure the girl was ok while she figured out what needed to be done. I got the girl some food and a drink, then sat and colored and played games with her for a while.
Finally, my manager came out after she got off the phone with higher-ups and the police and said that the cops were coming, I believe to come get her. Before the cops got there, the dad finally showed up and my manager absolutely ripped him a new one. She was just screaming at the top of her lungs at him in play place, it was really pretty incredible. The cops wound up showing up as she was finishing up reaming him out and then they took him outside and that’s the last we knew of it.
It was terrifying for a while, though. What if he was just abandoning her? Or what if she was taken?”
He Menaced The Restaurant Until They Called The Police
“At my old college, I decided to treat myself to getting a cheap meal to celebrate completing my final exams. I walked into the McDonald’s and ordered my food, nothing crazy was going on, it was just a normal Friday night, and I leaned upon the wall to wait for my food.
As I waited, I watched as a homeless man, who was probably high, stumble into the McDonald’s and demand a coffee. He threw $3 on the table and kept on demanding for the coffee. The staff were pretty ticked and they calmly asked for him to stop. They eventually gave him his coffee, he took a sip, then looked into the cup and demanded coffee again. He insisted he never got a coffee. He threw the cup on the floor and became aggressive; he tried to grab the collars of the staff and finally, he did the unthinkable: HE VAULTED ACROSS THE COUNTER. He was fighting with the manager at this point and the manager managed to throw him back into the lobby. They gave him another coffee and told him to leave or they’d call the police.
The homeless man very angrily grabbed the coffee and stormed off, or so we thought. As he reached the door, he stopped and came right back to the manager and threw the hot coffee into his face. The other staff finally had enough of this man and forcefully threw him out while the manager’s face was bright red and burning from the coffee.
I was recording at first, but as it got more serious, I decided this wasn’t something I wanted anyone to remember, so I stopped and called the police as well. There were angry customers chasing after the homeless man with cups full of soda, and about 10 minutes later, the manager personally apologized and gave me my food.
I walked back to my dorm really fast that night.”
He Needed His Fix And The Fries Just Weren’t Cutting It
“I was at a McDonald’s in East Village at around 3 or 4 am. There were plenty of wasted and obnoxiously loud people in the lobby.
While waiting for my fries, I heard a guy in line yell, ‘Really, man? Smack, here in the McDonald’s line? You can’t do that in the line, bruh!’
He was getting all up in the guy’s face and laughing, so I thought he was joking, but when I went up to the counter to get my fries a minute later, I almost stepped on a used needle.”
They Had The WORST Experiences With McD’s Bathrooms
“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 crap 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.”
Where’s A Pregnant Lady Supposed To Pee Around Here?!
“I was 23 weeks pregnant, hadn’t slept in 20 hours, just got off a six-hour bus ride, and needed to pee like it was nobody’s business.
The only place that was open in the middle of the night was a McDonald’s in London. Apparently, there was some sort of Halloween event going on even though it was September. The place was full of wasted people dressed up in all sorts of costumes. It was like a concert crowd and I only came in to use the restroom.
I got pushed, bumped into, almost puked on, and a guy in a wheelchair rolled over my feet. After waiting for 20 minutes to go pee, some girl pushed me aside, called me a wench and took the stall. When she finished, I bumped my shoulder into her so hard she fell.
The toilet was covered in urine and puke, some blood on the walls, miraculously no poop though. I remember it as officially the worst night of my life.”
It’s Bad When The Employees Have To Fight Off Rioters
“In high school and college, I worked at a McDonald’s on the Michigan State University campus. The handful of sports-related riots that happened on campus usually started about a block from the store.
During the lead up to the 2005 riot, we were told that the store was changing policy and would be keeping the lobby open 24/7 starting on the night of the NCAA Final Four tournament. The store manager had not been living in the city during the previous riots so a number of us explained how bad of a decision this was. He ended up sticking with the decision, forbade anyone from taking the day off and said anyone that called in sick would be fired.
Fast forward to the fateful evening and I was out having a smoke, watching students gather in the street down the block. The police showed up in riot gear and formed a line across the street. I went back in and told my manager before going back to the drive-thru register. Not five minutes later, he came back and asked me if I wanted to go home. I think I said yes before he even finished the sentence and he just said, ‘I’ll give you a ride.’
The two of us, along with two others, all left and locked the door, leaving the other manager and remaining employees to figure out what to do. My manager and I went back to his place and got wasted.
We ignored our phones and woke up the next day to find that the store manager had been called. He ended up getting the other two that had walked out to come back and had reopened the store. Unfortunately, they had just reopened the doors when the police started tear gassing the rioters down the street.
The rioters fled right into the store and started raiding the place. The store manager began handing out mop handles and other blunt objects for employees to fend off the rioters. In the end, everyone except the store manager got fired for fighting ‘customers’ on camera.
I enjoyed a summer of unemployment checks and the five times McDonald’s canceled court dates to fight having to pay.”
All Of That Over A Parking Spot?
“So I was going to McDonald’s and rounded a corner and slid into a parking spot. This McDonald’s was in a shopping center, so there were plenty of parking spots.
When I got out, I saw these two large ladies in an SUV, and one lady was just laying on the horn and looking at me. She rolled down her window and asked if I saw her before I took the spot. I said no. Then she said that I did, and demanded I back up. I said, ‘No way, lady,’ and walked into McDonald’s.
I should note that it was a slanted parking spot towards my direction, and there was no way her big SUV was going to make that turn coming from the other direction. So I went into McDonald’s and ordered from the kiosk. As I was ordering, one of the ladies had come inside the McDonald’s. She asked me if that was my car and I said yep. She immediately started cursing me out in the middle of this McDonald’s, telling me I was a spoiled rich white boy, calling me a bunch of names, and threatened me – this went on for a while. I was like, ‘Lady, I don’t know what to tell you.’
As I was waiting for my food, she turned around every 10 seconds to call me more names. When I left, I saw her friend had parked their car really close to mine next to the spot I took. Nothing super crazy, but it was annoying that I was threatened and annoyed when trying to get a burger.”
“I Think Someone Died In One Of The Booths”
“I worked at McDonald’s about 10 years ago and the thing that really stands out in my mind was the day we had a guy die in the dining room.
He was an older guy who I’m pretty sure was homeless. He would always come in, buy a sausage biscuit and a coffee and chill in the dining room for hours at a time. Sometimes, he would be there from the time we opened until after lunch. So, we were told by our store manager to keep his receipt and to let him know if the guy was there for more than two hours.
Well, this particular morning, he was in my line. He ordered, I gave him his food, pocketed his receipt, and away he went. I promptly forgot about him.
About an hour later, a customer approached me, and said, ‘Hey, there’s a guy out here who…uh, doesn’t look so good.’
I took off around the corner and saw this poor guy slumped over in a booth, next to the kids’ train tables. I ran back, told my manager, he booked it and tried to shake the guy awake (as he was infamous for sleeping), but got nothing.
My manager told my store manager, who was on the phone, ‘Rick, I think someone died in one of the booths.’ He ended his conversation like a boss with, ‘Listen, I have to go. There’s a dead guy in my lobby. Yes, I’m serious.’
We had to just leave him there until the police came (as they had to do an investigation), along with the paramedics and if I remember correctly, we didn’t even close. McDonald’s at its classiest. It was quite sad. It was even worse having to tell his friend, who would give him a ride most of the time, when he showed up to get him.”
He Had No Idea How Bad It Was Until He Saw It For Himself
“When I was in high school, I worked at a McDonald’s. It was a great job for a teenager and most of the time, I had a lot of fun. However, one night scarred me for life.
An old man came in about 20 minutes before we closed one night and ordered five fish filet sandwiches. He sat down and ate every one of them. When he finished, he calmly got up and entered the bathroom. My friend and I, who were cleaning the lobby, heard something that resembles an explosion, but the old man calmly exited and left the premises with a cheerful, ‘Good-night,’ so we assumed all was well.
Now it was time to clean the bathrooms, and my buddy and I flipped a coin for the honors. He lost and gets the cleaning supplies to do his duty. As soon as he opened the bathroom door, he ran out gagging. There was poop everywhere. All over the stall, floor, and ceiling. There were turds in the urinal and a smiley face of feces smeared on the mirror.
To this day, I cannot figure out how such a small man could projectile feces over 12 feet, but can only guess it was a skill that took years of training to hone the power of the fish filet.”
And He Thought Being Punched Was The Worst Part
“Back in 2008, I was working in a down on its luck McDonald’s with this crazy silly fry cook named Trevor. This guy was funny and did his job really well, but one day he just decided that on his hourly smoke break that he would go out to his car, do a shot of patron and some coke. He started this cycle at 5 pm and kept it up until we closed at 11 pm. Just as we were about to close, however, we got an order in the drive-thru. Trevor was completely blitzed and messed up the huge $50 order and lost his mind. He took the bags of food and threw them out the window into the customer’s vehicle and then shut and locked the window. Then he started accusing everyone of messing up the order. He punched a co-worker before punching a giant dent into our creamer dispenser. Then he punched me. Then he knocked over a giant tub of sweet tea, then began beating our metal front counter like a monkey. I stood up, cleaned my bloody nose and punched out, as I wasn’t getting paid enough for that.
That night, I called the district manager and reported Trevor. He got fired, as did the manager on duty who did nothing. Weeks if not months later, Trevor started calling the store, harassing me, demanding me to confess that I ratted him out. I denied everything.
A few weeks later, I was sweeping the floor late at night and Trevor walked up to one of the giant windows from the darkness outside. He was smoking and mimed slicing his throat. He came again the next day and mimed shooting himself in the head. I called the cops and Trevor got arrested.
Trevor’s girlfriend was a manager at the McDonald’s across town. He convinced her to steal from the safe. She stole $2,000 and Trevor used all of it to buy coke. Trevor and his girlfriend were eventually caught, and last I heard, they were doing some serious time.”
These Obviously Weren’t The Brightest Criminals
“I didn’t get to witness it, unfortunately, since I had quit shortly before this happened, but I stopped in for lunch and got the low-down from one of my former co-workers who came out and visited with me. Two of the managers, neither of whom were well liked, had hooked up and devised a ‘master plan’ to rob the place.
They set it up so that she would be the night manager on shift, part of whose job it is to count up everything in the safe at the end of the night and bag it for the bank deposit. He, with a panty-hose over his face, pretended to be some random criminal barging into the back claiming he had a weapon and barking orders. She would comply with his demands and give him the money.
So, I don’t know how wasted they were when they came up with this plan, but everybody in the kitchen would immediately recognize him. I mean, you can make your voice deeper or whatever but everybody knows it’s still you. And your build, and body language, it’s not rocket science. It’s somebody you work with every day, how did they think his panty-hose would do anything at all?
Needless to say, they were immediately caught and wound up serving time. I couldn’t stop laughing when I was told about it.”
They Weren’t Expecting This To Happen When They Got Late Night Burgers
“I worked at Mcdonald’s for about two years in high school. I have quite a few stories, but this one is the craziest by far.
Friday night in October, a high school football game ended around 10 pm. Some of my friends decided to come in right as my shift was ending, so I got some food and sat down with them.
After a few minutes, five police cars and S.W.A.T vans roll into the parking lot and arrest a couple of guys outside. The McDonald’s was pretty packed, and everyone crowded by the windows to watch what was going on.
The next thing we knew, four S.W.A.T guys came through both entrances, full body armor and weapons drawn, screaming ‘GET ON THE GROUND NOW.’ They ran to the table probably five feet from where we were sitting and threw this lady on the ground and arrested her. Another guy sitting at a table close to hers got up when they busted in and they grabbed him and threw him on the ground, too. He was innocent and was just trying to get out of the way but the cops didn’t know that until he explained it to them.
It all happened super fast, and when it was all over, the cops apologized to us for coming in so hard, but the woman was wanted for some pretty bad stuff and was in possession of a lot of weapons at the scene.
Reading the paper the next day, she was a trafficker and had over $60,000 in smack in her cars at the time of the arrest.
That was a pretty wild Friday night at McDonald’s.”
She Was Weirded Out When He Discussed Murder, But Had To Leave When She Saw His Tattoo
“I was at McDonald’s until 3 or 4 am one night with an old ex. He’s from a small town and thinks of himself as this cool hipster adventuring dude who just ‘does whatever’ and doesn’t really pick up on the gravity of some situations. The McDonald’s we were at was downtown and has a reputation for being sketchy and dangerous, to begin with. Considering I’m a female, I guess I also had my guard up a lot more than my ex-boyfriend.
We were sitting at this table and he was showing me some ridiculous creation of his when this gigantic biker ambled up to us and sat down way too close. The guy had interesting tattoos and though he was obviously a long-time addict, and his clothes were in shambles, he still had a very artistic aesthetic.
Of course, this is like crack for my uber-hipster photographer ex. He immediately started up a conversation with this guy and they got really into it. I was trying to stay quiet because I’m from the city and I know that while it made for a cool story, had I been alone, I definitely wouldn’t have indulged the guy. Plus, if something went awry, I didn’t have much faith in my ex to fight or at least intimidate our way out considering he weighs as much as I do.
Apparently, it wasn’t even enough when the guy started talking in explicit detail about how he served time for killing members of a skinhead gang with a shovel. He began showing off his rings which he claimed to have taken from the corpses.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was when he noticed that I’d been awfully quiet and shying away the whole time. This big, incredibly intimidating, most probably psychologically disturbed man made direct eye contact with me and said:
‘Lassy, would you believe it, I’ve got you tattooed on my body.’
Of course, I was like, ‘What?’
‘Yeah, I’ll show you.’
He stood up, absolutely dwarfing us, lifted up his shirt, and he wasn’t lying. Pasted over his entire side and back, and a bit on his chest, was an incredibly intricate black and white tattoo of a mermaid who looked way too much like me for my comfort.
I grabbed my stuff and made motions to leave immediately, as politely as I could after gently turning down his offer to come smoke weed with him in some underground smoking lounge he was headed to. My idiot ex was all over it, but I decided I’d leave, whether he came with me or not.”