Sandy Kennedy and her husband Matt Kennedy met while working part time at a local McDonalds. Now Sandy is looking forward to raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charity for the 11th year in a row. Picture Glenn Hampson
Sandy Kennedy and her husband Matt Kennedy met while working part time at a local McDonalds. Now Sandy is looking forward to raising money for the Ronald McDonald House Charity for the 11th year in a row. Picture Glenn Hampson

How I met the love of my life at McDonald’s

MCDONALD'S has always been part of Sandy Kennedy's life, so much so she jokes she has "ketchup" in her veins.

Driven by the work of the fast food chain's Ronald McDonald House charity, the Gold Coast cyclist has committed for the 11th year to make a 570km journey across northern Queensland to help raise $120,000 for the families of sick kids.

But for Ms Kennedy the ride is not just a fundraising pilgrimage - it is a chance to give back to the McDonald's family restaurant culture that became far more than her career. It has been instrumental in the making of her family.

 

 

In 1995 Ms Kennedy first locked eyes over the grill with the man who would become her husband, Matt Kennedy, when they worked together at the old Coolangatta McDonald's.

"We actually both started as part of the crew when we were at high school," Ms Kennedy said.

"It was the early nineties and we both worked part time at the McDonald's and we clicked.''

Their relationship started like most.

"We went out and had fun, going to places like the Patch," she laughed in recollection of the nights they spent at the old live-music nightclub.

Sandy Kennedy and Peter Cowey will be riding 507km to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charity to help sick kids. Photo by Richard Gosling
Sandy Kennedy and Peter Cowey will be riding 507km to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charity to help sick kids. Photo by Richard Gosling

The pair continued to work at McDonald's part time while studying to pursue their own careers.

They also got married and were eventually drawn back to the business that brought them together.

The couple ultimately bought two McDonald's franchises at Labrador in 2008 and South Tweed in 2016.

"We worked to purchase two stores on the Gold Coast at it has been great," Ms Kennedy said.

"They say you have ketchup in your veins. For us that's it. I just love the system.

"A lot of people think McDonald's is just flipping hamburgers but it is a really great training ground and gave us a lot of opportunities,"

Sandy Kennedy and Peter Cowey out the front of McDonalds at Southport. Photo by Richard Gosling
Sandy Kennedy and Peter Cowey out the front of McDonalds at Southport. Photo by Richard Gosling

Their three children also work at McDonald's part time.

"Having worked for McDonald's since my high school days, Ronald McDonald House has become a charity close to my heart," she said.

"I love McDonald's and I love their charity, so I am happy to be part of what we are working towards.''

Ms Kennedy will set off on the ride from Airlie Beach on August 13 along with the only other Gold Coast rider and McDonald's restaurant franchisee, Peter Cowey, and a dozen other riders from across Queensland.

The group will travel north, navigating their way over five days to finish at the Ronald McDonald Family Retreat at Palm Cove, a beachside northern suburb of Cairns.

"We are determined to raise as much money as possible to help educate Queenslanders about the great work of RMHC and show them that no matter how big or small a donation, all funds raised make a huge difference to the lives of children suffering from life threatening illnesses and those closest to them," she said.



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