American Travelers in Austria Can Now Reach the U.S. Embassy from McDonald’s
Why not grab a Big Mac before worrying about your lost passport?
Hopefully, you never find yourself lost and confused, wandering the streets of Austria alone, unsure of when and where you last saw your U.S. passport. But just in case that were to happen, don’t worry. Just head to the nearest… McDonald’s?
Last Friday, the official Facebook page for the U.S. Embassy Vienna posted about a new partnership between the consulate and McDonald’s Austria “to help U.S. citizens in need.”
“American citizens traveling in Austria who find themselves in distress and without a way to the U.S. Embassy can enter — as of Wednesday, May 15, 2019 — any McDonald's in Austria, and staff will assist them in making with the U.S. Embassy for consular services (e.g. report a lost or stolen passport, or seek travel assistance),” the post states. No purchase required!
The BBC reports that this service will be available at all 194 of Austria’s McDonald’s locations and that a 24-hotline between the burger giant and the U.S. Embassy is part of the arrangement, which was signed by U.S. Ambassador Trevor Traina and McDonald’s Austria’s managing director Isabelle Kuster.
Of course, some Americans may wonder if this is the first step towards trained government bureaucrats being replaced by privately-employed fast food workers. However, the embassy specifically stated in a reply on its Facebook post that this new agreement is meant to give U.S. travelers additional options, not to serve in lieu of the embassy itself. “Our Embassy is fully staffed and ready to assist American citizens in need,” the message stated. “This partnership is only one extra way for Americans to connect to the Embassy when they are in an emergency situation.”
To be fair, dealing with any embassy is usually a slow and boring process. Having the option to grab some fries beforehand isn’t the worst opportunity I’ve ever heard of.