A homeless Indian boy was reunited with his long-lost parents after he was recognised on television during a McDonald’s PR campaign. The food giants launched a huge public relations exercise when one of their store managers refused to serve the missing boy in the city of Pune. Shaheena Attarwalla, who had offered to buy the hungry youngster a burger, claimed a staff member said: “We don’t allow ‘such’ people inside.” She added: “I saw the boy selling balloons on the street corner and, rather than giving him money, I offered to buy him a burger.”
She posted the story on Facebook where it went viral and picked up a massive following sparking demonstrations in India against McDonald’s stores with people demanding an apology. And McDonald’s reacted quickly by closing down the store and announced an investigation into the staff member involved. But in a bizarre twist, the footage of Raju, who was reported missing in April, 2012, was shown around the world where neighbours of the family raised the alarm.
Hasnain Musharraf, who claims to be the boy’s father, said: “I couldn’t believe it when I went round to the neighbour’s house, looked on the television and saw my son looking back at me. It is definitely him, there is no doubt at all. I have contacted the police.” And Musharraf, 50, added: “I reported him missing as soon as we realised he had not come back home. Police couldn’t find him, but we never gave up hope.
“It’s incredible to be reunited and we are hoping to get him back home as soon as possible.” McDonald’s staff also announced that they were offering free food to children in the cities of Kolkata and Delh, and at its other branches in Pune. And, after the picture of the boy together with the woman who had complained was published worldwide, it seems the story is destined for a happy ending.