Walk-Thrus to McDonalds: How I Tried To Take My Wheelchair Through the Drive-Thru


By: Connor Lenahan

Here’s the most interesting thought of the day: McDonald’s is apparently starting to toy with the idea of adding a “Walk-Thru” for people hoping to grab some nuggets on their stroll without a car. There’s a plainly obvious market here – drunk people – but let’s not be coy about this, it’s a potentially revolutionary idea. Almost every person I know has some story about having a few beers out at the bar and suddenly craving a Big Mac at 11:45 PM. It’s not embarrassing, and certainly not since the All Day Breakfast menu was introduced. I’m not ashamed to admit that one evening here at Boston University I visited the BU Pub to have a drink for our Knight’s Quest, got hungry, walked to McDonald’s, and got myself a sausage egg McMuffin and two breakfast burritos.

They were delicious.

But adding such a concept in a metropolitan area could be genuinely fascinating. Here in Boston the Kenmore Square McDonald’s has been under construction for some time, leaving a walk-up window for people to order from. While I haven’t tried it personally, it’s always serving someone. Obviously something about the idea is valuable beyond the nightlife crowd. I certainly would snag some nuggets on my way to work if possible.

But this story resonates with me for I recently learned that you cannot walk through a drive-thru, nor can you take a wheelchair through one.


Just down the road from my apartment is one of the only Burger King locations in Boston (though it’s legally Allston, but still). By virtue of having a sidewalk next to it, you can walk into the restaurant or go through the drive-thru. Recently, while hungry, I attempted to go in and obtain a BK Stacker, only to learn the Burger King was being renovated and the dining room was closed.

Confused, and hungry, I noticed people making food inside, although it was for the drive-thru. I then elected to do the only sane thing possible – go through the drive-thru in my wheelchair.

A quick thing I learned, I think, is that Drive-Thru’s are notified when a car comes through because they are huge and easy to pick up on a motion detector. I am four feet tall in my wheelchair and roughly two feet wide. The camera doesn’t garner the attention of the staff for squirrels or hungry, wheelchair-using college seniors, apparently.

I tried to talk into the box for a desperate attempt to gain my Stacker, but to no avail. I thought about walking directly to the window, yet that is somehow where I decided the “line” was. I ventured home sad, hungry, and defeated.

So allow me to officially co-sign the idea of Walk-Thrus, because I’m hungry and not a car. It’s time we take the next step in making this country more accessible for all hungry people.