One-man McDonald's protest

“Yes, I’m homeless, but I’m respectful, and I clean up after myself.”

Nate Nicholson
  • Nate Nicholson


1121 Garnet Avenue, Pacific Beach

Pacific Beach resident Nate Nicholson is ticked at McDonald’s. On December 10, he was protesting out in front of the restaurant at 1121 Garnet Avenue, to the honking approval of several passersby.

After returning to the PB area in October, Nicholson said he and a friend would have breakfast in the restaurant almost every day. “I spent $200 the first month in there,” he said.

Then, just after Thanksgiving, he and other friends — who he said were all paying customers — started being charged 25 cents to use the restroom, when other customers were not being charged.

“You have to pay to poop,” said Nicholson. (This reporter was not charged to use the restroom.)

“Yes, I’m homeless, but I’m respectful, and I clean up after myself,” said Nicholson. “They [pointing to the McDonald’s] always make it the homeless’ fault. The ‘30 minute limit to enjoy your meal’ posted sign is only enforced on the homeless. Some of my friends are told they have to get their food to go or they won’t be served."

This reporter also noticed that all the electrical outlets in the dining area were covered up.

“That’s because of the homeless,” said customer and lifelong PB resident William Wyllett. “I can understand why so many homeless are here, but it’s not fair to them.” Wyllett also pointed out that several other restaurants in the beach area have removed their tableside A/C outlets.

The restaurant’s general manager was off duty and email attempts for a comment by McDonald’s Corporation media relations were unsuccessful prior to filing this story.

Nicholson hopes the result of his one-man protest will be an apology from McDonald’s and that perhaps the restaurant chain will work to help the homeless situation.

Nicholson showed me his Facebook page, on his iPhone 5, where his grievances are listed. He also suggested I go down two blocks to a Starbucks to charge my laptop, which is what I did to be able to file this story.

Share / Tools

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • AddThis
  • Email

More from SDReader


This is the kind of local-centric and otherwise unreported story that I really like seeing in Neighborhood News. It would be interesting to read a followup covering other Macs around town situated in areas with a high homeless population. The other POV needs to be represented somehow, tho - management won't likely speak on the record until/unless convinced via multiple requests (perhaps with fwds of this writeup), but perhaps an employee getting off shift would be willing to speak with a reporter off the record, without using their names? The individual restaurant serving policies RE their patrons' social status (or lack thereof) would seem to merit further investigation!

In OB homelessness is a way of life. The reason businesses have rules or have restroom controls or cover up wall circuits is because of abuse. MacDonalds is a private enterprise and is entitled to limit the use of their facilities. Maybe Nate and his friends can go to the local community center and hang out or better yet look for a job.

'Restaurant chain will help fix the homeless problem' - while I am sensitive to the fact that there are some who have become homeless out of no fault of their own - many troubled Vets - then there are the mentally ill outcasts

Perhaps some labeling themselves homeless might work to fix 'their' homeless problem.

Restaurants have gotten tired of homeless locking themselves in the bathroom for 30 minutes and leaving a stinking mess behind. I'm all for the locks that require a key or token, and now they have ones with a numeric code.

Restaurants are not a "public service". They're private property that exist to make money. Someone hunched down in the dining room stinking and muttering to themselves is costing them money. You go in, you order, you pay, you eat, you leave. That's how it works. It's sad that the signs and locks and rules are necessary, but they are. McDonalds cannot fix homelessness, they're there to make money for their owners (while paying employees and suppliers, which is a far greater "social good" than any protester has ever managed).

"Nicholson showed me his Facebook page, on his iPhone 5, where his grievances are listed."

He can pay for an iPhone and the $100 bill that goes along with it, but can't manage to get a job? And he's eating at McDonalds every day??? A perfect demonstration of what the actual problem is. I have zero sympathy, and if I'm ever in the area I'll stop there and brush past his stupid sign just to make a point.


What really sucks to me is an idiot like this who is so lazy he doesn't want to work but then shows a list of issues on an Iphone? Here is a clue for this pimple on the rear end of society, GET A JOB and quit trying to hurt those who actually work for a living and stick that Iphone where your welfare check don't shine....this article is infuriating with it's tone and purpose and I have been to this location and it is an ENCAMPMENT that is downright scary...I pity the poor franchise owner having to deal with this mess....

I agree with McDonalds owner.....these are people who are not only doing nasty crapping but most also shoot up in there. It's a constant issue at this location and Starbucks on Garnet. Police frequently intervening. Not safe, and these people get angry when you don't give them money.

The McDonald's at El Cajon Blvd. & Texas St. is a similar venue. No, I don't ever eat there, but I walk by it frequently.

Log in to comment

Skip Ad