To some, it’s just a job. But for Kendall Titiml, the man with the golden voice, it’s a golden opportunity.
Walk into the McDonald’s in Wayne, America (that’s in Nebraska, but look at the water tower and you’ll understand the nomenclature) and you may be greeted by a smile wider and brighter than the arches outside. That “I’m Lovin’ It” personality belongs to Kendall, 22, a marketing student at Wayne State College. Kendall entered the Voice of McDonald’s IV, a contest to recognize McDonald’s employees for their singing talents. As he made it through the public voting to be one of the U.S. finalists, news organizations in Nebraska, Iowa and Palau (Kendall’s home and an island nation 500 miles east of the Philippines and 2,000 miles south of Tokyo with a population several thousand less than Aberdeen, SD) covered his journey.
But a lesson in PR (and life): don’t assume you know the whole story.
As we worked to share Kendall’s story (and help him get votes), we got a chance to interview him. He chatted about his philosophy in life, love of music and excitement that he would use his winnings to send his mom to his sister’s graduation and he may even make the trip home as well.
But then he mentioned something else.
At five-years-old, he became ill with Guillain-Barre syndrome and needed to be taken to a larger hospital hours away in Hawaii. While there, his family stayed at a Ronald McDonald House. Kendall told us how grateful he became back then for the chance to recover and he believed McDonald’s gave him two opportunities in his life.
While we thought we just wanted to share the story of a hard-working college kid with a great voice and passion to perform who loved to inspire people with his positive personality, we found another story. A young man grateful to share his talent and endlessly appreciative of people he never would know who gave his family a place to call home while he recovered.
Next up, Kendall heads to Orlando in April where he competes for international bragging rights singing with 16 competitors from around the globe, all hoping for their golden opportunity.
– Jolene Loetscher