McDonald’s offers free meals to first responders

CLEWISTON – Some “big kids” had big smiles on April 22 when they received free meals from area McDonald’s restaurants.

Special to the Caloosa Belle: CLEWISTON — Clewiston McDonald’s owner Amanda Nisbet is pictured with Hendry County Sheriff Steve Whidden.

In appreciation for the healthcare workers, police officers, firefighters and paramedics who are committed to public health and safety, McDonald’s is offering free Thank You Meals, between April 22 and Tuesday, May 5, as a token of appreciation for their selfless service.

“We’re having fun with it,” said Steve Nisbet Jr., owner/operator for McDonald’s in Clewiston, Belle Glade, LaBelle and Indiantown. He said the meals are served in McDonald’s Happy Meal boxes, but do not include toys. Instead, each box includes a note of appreciation.

He said they have been rewarded with some big smiles when they hand out the meals.

Meals are available to those in uniform or who show a work ID identifying them as a health care professional or first responder.

The promotion is limited to one free meal per day per person.

“It’s fun to give them a Happy Meal box, it really is,” said Mr. Nisbet, who helped hand out some of the boxes Tuesday morning.

The current program is nationwide, but Mr. Nisbet’s stores in Hendry and Palm Beach counties participated in a similar local program before Easter.

Thank You Meals will be available at no charge via drive thru or carry out at participating McDonald’s restaurants nationwide through May 5.

The Thank You Meal, available during breakfast, lunch or dinner, will feature a choice of sandwiches, drinks, and a side featuring fries or a hash brown, along with a note of appreciation.

Breakfast options include a choice of an Egg McMuffin®, Chicken McGriddles® or a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit. Meals also come with any size soft drink, tea or hot coffee and a hash brown.

Lunch and dinner options include a choice of a double cheeseburger, six-piece Chicken McNuggets® or a Filet-O-Fish®. Lunch and dinner meals come with any size soft drink, tea or hot coffee and small fries.

McDonald’s has implemented safety measures to ensure the well-being of its employees, in accordance with guidance issued by local and national health authorities including the CDC.

Mr. Nisbet said they have installed Plexiglas partitions at the counter and the drive thru. He said 90% or more of their business is drive thru, but the counter is still open for those who come on foot, or whose vehicles are too large for the drive thru. Marks on the floor help customers at the counter maintain proper social distancing. The dining areas in the stores are closed, he said. Meals are available “to go” only.

“Everybody is washing their hands and trying to stay safe,” he said.

Mr. Nisbet said when the governor starts to reopen the state, the restaurants will probably maintain social distancing rules. When dining rooms reopen, they will close off some of the tables to keep people separate.

He said employees and customers have been good about observing the new safety rules. The only complaint so far? Some of the first responders jokingly ask “where’s my toy?”

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