by Derrick Lesnau
The Ronald McDonald Family Room at St. David’s Medical Center opened this past Thursday (June 28th) and a Grand Opening Ceremony was held to celebrate this partnership between RMHC and SDMC created to serve families with babies being treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. David’s. The attendance was incredible and everybody was excited to see the space completed. As with any major opening of a new Ronald McDonald House Charities program, a special guest was invited to attend the event: Mr. Ronald McDonald
Now there are several details that go with getting Ronald McDonald scheduled to attend your event, most of which I will not delve into during this blog post. The 1 detail I will discuss, however, is the fact that Ronald McDonald cannot drive himself anywhere…..ever. Ronald’s shoes are great (size = extra long, extra wide, extra red), but a bit too large to maneuver the gas/brake pedal combo in any street-legal automobile. This always leaves us with 1 question before every Ronald-worthy event we hold: Who is going to drive Mr. McDonald?
I was given the honor of driving Ronald McDonald from the Ronald McDonald House to St. David’s Medical Center last Thursday for this Grand Opening. I don’t usually like clowns, thanks to the 1982 Poltergeist movie, but I figured I could tolerate a 10 minute road trip with the man. Let me tell you, if you have never had the pleasure of driving around with a globally recognized icon in your passenger seat, then put that on your bucket-list. 50-year-old professionals turn into little kids at the site of Ronald. Each and every passenger in the cars around you do double and triple-takes to make sure their eyes aren’t deceiving them. At every red light, people would whip out their phones to snap a quick photo of the legendary clown riding in my 2-door coupe. When we arrived at the hospital, I pulled up to the valet and Ronald exited the car causing the entire valet staff to giggle like school children at Recess. I guess when you don’t see Ronald on any consistent basis, the sight of the Hamburglar’s arch-nemesis can be an unexpected jolt to your daily routine. Throughout Ronald’s time at the event, people would come in from the hallway just to take a picture with him. The way he handles and even welcomes the attention is admirable. I would lose it after the eleventeenth time somebody made a wisecrack about Grimace or Mayor McCheese.
This new Ronald McDonald Family Room will be a great resource for families with babies in the St. David’s NICU. Our 3rd Family Room also offers another opportunity for volunteering with RMHC. Click here to learn more about becoming a Ronald McDonald Family Room volunteer.