James Franco is an American actor famous for roles in movies that include The Interview, 127 Hours, and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. He now has fame, wealth, and influence. But he wasn't born that way. He worked his way up from the bottom, starting as an 18-year old in Los Angeles trying to break into acting. For three months, he worked at a McDonald's restaurant.
Today, Franco published a reflective essay on that experience in the Washington Post. It's a lovely affirmation of the dignity of honest labor:
All I know is that when I needed McDonald’s, McDonald’s was there for me. When no one else was. […]
I didn’t have a car, so I tried to get a job at all the restaurants within walking distance of my post-dropout Valley apartment. (I shared it with two other aspiring actors and slept on the couch.) I had very little work experience. In high school, I was fired from a coffee shop for reading behind the counter and from a golf course for reading while driving the cart on the driving range. All the waiter jobs were taken by more experienced actor/waiters.
Someone asked me if I was too good to work at McDonald’s. Because I was following my acting dream despite all the pressure not to, I was definitely not too good to work at McDonald’s. I went to the nearest Mickey D’s and was hired the same day. […]
I was treated fairly well at McDonald’s. If anything, they cut me slack. And, just like their food, the job was more available there than anywhere else. When I was hungry for work, they fed the need. I still love the simplicity of the McDonald’s hamburger and its salty fries. After reading “Fast Food Nation,” it’s hard for me to trust the grade of the meat. But maybe once a year, while on a road trip or out in the middle of nowhere for a movie, I’ll stop by a McDonald’s and get a simple cheeseburger: light, and airy, and satisfying.
-via Glenn Reynolds