Tag Archives: ronald mcdonald

What do Ronald McDonald and Houdini have in common?

Ronald McDonald
Ronald McDonald (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Forty years ago today, a crime happened.  Someone robbed the McDonald’s in Minot, ND dressed as Ronald McDonald.

He didn’t get much.    He was caught almost immediately.  Why?  At 36, he was a new father, he already had one son and a wife to support. He worked at McDonald’s as the Ronald for parties and kids events.  When he robbed the place, he did so driving the car that he had just purchased from the dealership where his brother-in-law worked.  It still had the dealer plates on it.  Oh, and he was dressed for work when he did the crime.

So naturally, when the crime was reported, and the police were informed about the dealer plates, it was easy to determine who the perpetrator was.  He was sentenced to a prison.  I don’t know off hand how many years he got.

Why is this relevant to WhyNotFathers.com?  That man was my birth father.  I was 17 days old when he robbed the restaurant.

This event would be a watershed moment in my life.  Mom remarried, and we were adopted by her husband.  We would eventually be joined by a sister.  During the late-70’s, I can distinctly remember times when we would suddenly go on vacation, or get shipped off to a relative’s house.  It wasn’t until I was an adult that I was able to understand why.

Those times correspond with prison escapes by my birth father.  They called him Houdini because he escaped three times from the State Pen.  Each time he escaped, we hid.

Following the trail that he laid on each escape shows a man who is not concerned about the welfare of others.  For example, he and the escapees with him once held a family hostage not too far from where we live.  He was found when the authorities started poking a hay stack with a pitch fork.

One time he escaped and made it all the way to Missouri where he lived for a period until he tried to molest a child.  He was not a good man.

I am not entirely sure when he was released from prison.  The man we call Dad told my brother and I that we were adopted when I was 14 or 15 years old.  He and mom had been divorced for more than 10 years by that time.

Mom married and divorced a number of times before marrying the love of her life.  He was a good man who died a couple of years ago.  Sadly, I could never bring myself to call him dad.  I just didn’t know him, as they got together long after I had moved out of the house.

More tomorrow…


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