McDonald's apologizes to N.S. community for 'insensitive timing' of fundraiser
McDonald’s is apologizing for the timing of its McHappy Day fundraiser, which was held across the country on Wednesday.
Wednesday also marked the 22-year anniversary of a mass murder at a McDonald’s in Sydney River, N.S. Three young people were killed and one critically injured in a violent botched robbery at the restaurant on May 7, 1992.
“They can have McHappy Day any day they want, I just don’t think that May 7 is an appropriate day for that,” says Cathy Burroughs, whose brother Neil was killed in the robbery.
“I thought it was very heartless of McDonald’s Canada for thinking May 7 would be a good McHappy Day. Certainly it wasn’t a good day for the families, I’m sure, that lost loved ones that night.”
A McDonald’s Canada spokesperson tells CTV News McHappy Day, which raises funds to support Ronald McDonald House and other children’s charities, always falls on the first Wednesday of May. He says the company regrets the timing of this year’s fundraiser.
“The heartbreaking tragedies of 1992 remain with us as a collective day of sadness and one that we will never forget,” says spokesperson Jason Patuano in an emailed statement.
“The fact McHappy Day, an important day of community fundraising in support of Canadian families with sick children, fell on this sad anniversary is an unfortunate and regrettable coincidence.”
“We apologize for the insensitive timing of this year's McHappy Day and offer our humble apologies to the people of Sydney River,” says Patuano.
Carol McGean and her husband Keith live next door to the spot where the murders took place. She says they will never forget that night.
“Well, we lost our innocence that night, all of Sydney, not just us,” says McGean. “We just happen to live next door but all of Sydney lost their innocence.”
After 22 years, all that’s left of the restaurant is an empty parking lot, but Burroughs says she still feels the pain of losing her brother as if it was yesterday.
“When I think of that day, I think of what happened to him and how he died,” she says. “That is something I will never be able to forget. It was too brutal.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore