A North Surrey Secondary senior is not lovin' the McDonald's near his high school after he and his friends were treated like a side of fries during a recent spare block.
Mitchell Gerry, 17, said he and some classmates were kicked out of the Mickey D's across the street from NSS on Nov. 29 when they bought food and sat down to play cards.
"We walked in one day and they told us that we had 10 minutes to eat our food and then to get out because we weren't allowed to be playing cards in the McDonald's anymore," said Gerry. "Apparently, the owner said that students at the school are no longer allowed to be sitting in there during their spare blocks or during lunch."
Since the start of the semester, they had played cards at the fast food restaurant between classes without issue. Despite being respectful, paying customers, Gerry and his friends now aren't allowed to spend time there within school hours.
He finds the removal to be ageist, considering he's seen many adults and elderly people go to the McDonald's, order a small coffee and spend hours in the restaurant without incident. He feels he and his friends deserve an apology and an invitation to eat at the establishment like any other paying customer.
A spokesperson for McDonald's said he spoke with the owner and manager of the chain's location and was told that the number of students hanging out at the restaurant without ordering has become a problem. He claimed he was told a group of six kids playing cards spent an hour in the restaurant one day and only one of them ordered anything.
The spokesperson added that a compliance officer from the school visits the restaurant during the lunch hour to mitigate loitering by students.
But Gerry maintains that he and his friends never took seats from others or spent extensive amounts of time in the restaurant.
"We're always very quiet and polite and make sure to clean up after ourselves because we don't want to make any issues," he said.
According to Gerry, this isn't the first time students have had a problem with this McDonald's: a few years ago, the restaurant offered a free coffee promotion, but he said students were only allowed to get small coffees between noon and 2 p.m. - after the school's lunch break.
Since the time-limit incident, Gerry has not returned to the franchise. He acknowledged that there are other students who go to the Golden Arches without buying anything, but he doesn't think their actions should affect the other 1,700 students at North Surrey Secondary.
"I'd understand having people who aren't buying food and asking them politely to leave, but we still had our food and were in the middle of eating," he said. "We weren't being rude or impolite at all."