McDonald’s Turned My Son’s Life Around

Here’s a story that John Strong told on Facebook this morning (reproduced with his permission, along with some slight edits):

“I stayed in an Airbnb managed by a lady who had a son with a learning difficulty. She told me about her struggle to get him to leave home and get a job after he graduated from high school. He was completely passive and quite content to live at home with mom, doing nothing much, so eventually she had to put her foot down and threaten to kick him out unless he could “shake hands with at least 3 hiring managers per week.” She even chauffeured him around to job interviews and claims that she had a revelation on the way to one of the interviews, because she looked over at her son, a huge guy who had excelled at football and not much of anything else, and noticed that he was trembling with fear. She said that in that moment she realized for the first time how big a part fear had played in her son’s dysfunction. Who finally hired this young man? McDonald’s. And according to my landlady “McDonald’s saved him.” Why? Oh, they’re unbelievable, she said. They are very used to dealing with people like my son. They have all kinds of systems for helping people who lack good work habits become productive. For instance, they start calling you hours before your morning shift to ensure that you are awake and getting ready for work. My son really needed that, she said. In McDonald’s he learned that work guidelines have a purpose and he acquired confidence. He is no longer passive now. He has a much better job, a fiancee, and a future.”

McDonald's

McDonald’s

I’ll put in my words the essence of the question that John Strong asked after telling this story: do we really want to put such jobs and such character building at risk by raising the minimum wage?

David R. Henderson

David R. Henderson

David Henderson is a research fellow with the Hoover Institution and an economics professor at the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California. He is editor of The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics (Liberty Fund) and blogs at econlib.org.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.