No way, you’re pulling my leg, was my response when I met Ronald Macdonald for the first time and he told me his name almost 30 years ago.
As the years went on it became obvious that my reaction was the same as everyone else who was fortunate enough to meet this Scottish born happy-go-lucky guy.
Sales, marketing, promotions, charity work – if you knew Ronald Macdonald they’re the four words you’d associate with him.
He was a legendary networker – still is – and knows so many people we decide to play a little game when we sit down for a chat last Friday.
I name someone and he has to say, yes, know him or her, and where.
He knows everyone I name, so how about Ian Fulton [Aussie Campbelltown] and quick as a flash Ronnie says: “yep, knew him from the chamber of commerce, lovely guy’’.
Then he adds: “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.’’
Like many of us “migrants’’ to Campbelltown, he arrived in 1978 and in the next 40 years brought up five kids – from two marriages – and lived in Ambarvale, Raby, St Andrews, Picton and currently Narellan Vale.
There are also six grandchildren, while two of the kids are still living at home with him and wife Jillian.
So, Ronald Macdonald, where have you been lately, pal?
“In the past five years I was in business with another guy and unfortunately that ended up going MIA [missing in action],’’ he says.
“I’ve had to restructure my life again, undertaking courses to improve my knowledge.
“Then it’s off to market with a unique fitness industry product, an alloy frame bike with seven gears, calorie monitor and best of all, lithium battery,’’ says the salesman in him.
“It’s perfect for helping people doing that little bit more exercise without the extra effort.’’
He’s actually an engineer by trade, who “dabbled in electronics all my life and actually started as an apprentice tool maker with a company called PYE, and ended up doing colour TVs there’’.
From here in Macarthur he got to know a lot of sport stars, from league players to footballers, who were happy to lend a hand in his promotional activities for charity.
Macdonald remembers a very successful McHappy Day promotion he did for another local legend, Ken Tagg, former owner of the 10 McDonald’s restaurants in Macarthur.
He enlisted people like Jeff Fenech, the triple world boxing champion, Ivan Henjak, a top flight rugby league halfback who played for Canberra and Western Suburbs, Kangaroos reps Bobby Lindner and Rod Wishart, and football [soccer] legends Laurie McKinna and Alex Tobin, a Socceroos captain.
What I never knew was that if someone came calling for his help from further afield than Macarhur, Ronald Macdonald still said yes to them as well.
So he’d be off to places like Dubbo, Mudgee and Wagga.
“Networking led to business contacts but also a lot of good friends and I’d help them out where I could,’’ he says now.
“Once I got a call from a mate up in Mudgee, who asked if I knew a sports person I could recommend for a function, and I said, well, how about Pat Farmer, the ultra marathon champion?
“I went round to Pat’s place at the back of Catherine Field and Pat said yes, I’ll do it.
“The whole town came, because Pat was there and he did an enormous job.’’
He’s about to go when we say we have one final question: If you had a dollar for every time someone said no way when you introduced yourself and told them your name was Ronald Macdonald, how rich would you be now?
“I’d be a billionaire for sure,’’ he says.