All great things at the golden arches

My daughter and I stopped at our favorite McDonalds for dinner the other night — it’s kind of a sketchy one but the only location in the city with a play area. We discovered on arrival that it was Family Fun Night and the guy at the counter encouraged me to just drop her off, that there were some people in the back with games who were happy to watch her from 5:00-7:00. Let me repeat that: the guy encouraged me to just leave my daughter with strangers for two hours.

The people in the back, best I could tell, were just two teenage McDonalds employees with one of those beanbag tic-tac-toe games. I don’t think any parents actually left their kids alone, and most of the children were chaperoned (and I use that word lightly) by what appeared to be their tired, single dads on cell phones. Two moms gabbed in the corner as far from their kids as they could get while the kids attempted to form some kind of feral gang. There was a baby loose on the floor, right in front of the exit for the slide. One girl told her mother, “That kid is mean!” and her mother replied, “So are you.” We stayed until seven and I’m happy to report no one was actually hurt, although my daughter did accidentally topple the two-year-old watching the baby on the floor. When the two-year-old started to cry I frantically tried to locate her parent but her older sister, probably five, told me, “Don’t worry. She just cries to try and get candy.”

It was an awful and wonderful experience all at once, both sad and funny. Definitely story-worthy. What have you seen lately that could spark a story? What details stick out, and why?

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