The owner of the Robbinsdale, Minnesota McDonald’s had a bright idea several years back. Tim Baylor, former footballer and current owner of several McDonald’s franchises, started a Bingo tradition at the restaurant. McDonald’s has Standing Room Only at their bi-weekly Bingo games. The restaurant is packed with happy customers every Tuesday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 9 a.m.
Bingo and a Shake
The players are mostly seniors. The winnings consist of a McDonald’s sandwich. However, the real winnings are immeasurable. These Bingo players get to enjoy the excitement of the game, an evening or morning of entertainment, and happy social connection with their neighbors.
The participants bring along loose change and the anticipation of a fun time. The cards are free and the play is accompanied by soft drinks, shakes and fries purchased by the players. The burgers won by many during the games, complete their meal. Those who do not win, buy their own.
Someone shouts “Bingo!” The player holds up the winning card and with a twinkle, goes over to the caller. The card numbers are checked, and the winner takes a sandwich coupon. All of the other players clear their cards, drink their shakes and wait for the next game to begin.
Bingo is a Draw
Lynne Bergman and her husband noticed a sign at the Golden Valley McDonald’s a few years ago. That sign was the beginning of a weekly tradition for the couple. Senior Bingo was being advertised at the restaurant, to take place every Tuesday morning.
The games have caught on with residents of all ages. What used to be reserved only for seniors is currently open to everyone. Paul Johnson happened to recently walk into a McDonald’s with his son Rusty, eight years old. They were surprised to see so many folks, and decided to join the crowd. They now play every week. Johnson believes that it’s a good way to develop his son’s concentration and lead him to feel comfortable with numbers.
Bergman views the Bingo players as an extended family. She and her husband have met many new friends at the games. Their Bingo community has outside get-togethers, and they send get-well cards to each other when appropriate. People are missed if they are not at the games. As retired individuals, their lives have expanded with McDonald’s Bingo.
The issue of staying young is a science unto itself. One of the proven ways to remain mentally alert and retain the feeling of youth, is by enjoying a good game of Bingo. Research has shown that Bingo adds up to fun, positive social interaction and mental stimulation. Hand-eye coordination and quick mental reflexes are required in Bingo.
Cognitive development takes place as the player listens intently for each number called, and instantly translates that verbal number into a square on their card, marking that square before another number comes up. The mind and eyes have to work fast to keep up with the pace of the game. Bingo is the fun way to stay mentally fit. McDonald’s is the place; Bingo is the game.