Urban Legends

Deadly Ball Pit

The Legend

Found on the Internet in 1994

Important! You may not be a parent, but you probably have nieces, nephews, grandsons, granddaughters, friends with children, neighborhood children, or have been a child, even if you got over it, so this message is for you.

On October 2, 1994, I took my son, Kevin Archer, to the McDonalds in Sugarland, Texas, for his third birthday. My son loved this McDonalds, because they always gave him a free happy meal on his birthday, and in fact this was the fourth time we'd taken him there for his "birthday" this year. We thought they loved kids!

After lunch, Kevin went to play in the play area while I checked the rest of the restaurant for single men. I heard a kid crying and the thought struck me that it might be Kevin, so I went looking for him. He was in the ball pit saying his ass hurt. He looked okay to me and I figured he was just being a brat, so I took him home and didn't think about it until later that night.

He was supposed to be in bed and I was relaxing on the couch, testing some new stuff that was supposed to be pure Columbian, when I notice he's wandering around the room crying. I thought he was a singing jelly baby come to life for a minute, then I realized he was my son. I got my head clear, and saw that there was a hypodermic needle sticking out of his leg. It couldn't have been one of mine because he knows I'd beat his ass if he got into my stash, so I knew it had to have been from that damned McDonalds ball pit!

I didn't take him to emergency (they are required by law to report), but when he started vomiting and shaking and his eyes rolled back in his head, I became concerned. One of my nosy neighbors heard me yelling for him to wake up and called 911.

Now my kid has been taken away from me and I'm stuck in prison and can't get a fix, just because of damned McDonalds! So I warn you, if you ever want to see your kid again, don't let him play in the McDonalds play area ball pit!

Behind the Legend

An article in the October 10, 1994, Houston Chronicle relates the above story (albeit, from a more neutral perspective) and includes additional details. Reacting to the claim that the McDonalds ball pit was dangerous, police investigated the play area in question. After excavating the ball pit using a backhoe (children were removed first), investigators found rotten food, knives, a 1946 copper penny and other loose change, more knives, half-eaten candy, soiled diapers, various unidentifiable stenches, two members of Al Qaeda, copious plastic balls, and the remains of a Mr. Hoffa, but no drug paraphernalia. McDonalds has promised to clean the ball pit at least once a month in the future.

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