McDonald’s is taking its role as an American institution seriously. So seriously, it’s volunteering to help put Americans in touch with the US embassy in Austria. In addition to slinging burgers and fries, McDonald’s staff now have the responsibility of facilitating inquiries and help requests to the embassy from US citizens, in the form of a special 24-hour hotline. According to McDonald’s, the fast-food chain sees itself as playing an important role in operating a support and telephone exchange, and it agreed to implement the hotline at the request of US ambassador Trevor Traina.
The staff, however, will be trained to help anyone in need — not just Americans. According to the US embassy, the McDonald’s program is an “extra way for Americans to connect to the embassy when they are in an emergency situation.”
So if you find yourself in Austria after May 15 and have lost your passport, need travel assistance, or are otherwise in distress, you can enter any McDonald’s for help contacting your embassy.
Facebook users are a bit skeptical, however, questioning the need for a McDonald’s-embassy crossover and whether or not this is a worrying sign that the embassy isn’t exactly equipped to deal with citizens’ needs independently. In response, the US embassy replied, “Our Embassy is fully staffed and ready to assist American citizens in need.”