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Kids of all ages love Ronald McDonald

If you were to call Steve Ferguson a big kid, he might smile and thank you. After all, his job is the envy of many kids. The hardest part is reading the temperature and time.

"It's 56 degrees. 6:46, 14 minutes before 7."

After that, he shares the news, has some fun with some borderline news in the form of celebrity blunders and plays the music that he loves and understands.

Of course, mornings on WTHO are not really that simple. As someone who has never spun a platter and who hasn't voiced radio news in more than 30 years, I can tell you that the job is a little more complicated.

But just for the sake of fun, let's agree that Steve's job is not exactly a salt mine.

So it should come as no surprise that after Steve signed off from his live remote on Saturday, he took an extra minute at McDonald's and had his picture taken with Ronald McDonald.

That's right, The Mr. McDonald. Steve looked right into the camera -- several cameras, actually -- and smiled like he meant it, like he didn't care who knew that he meant it.

Steve, if he even needed a defense, could reply that he wasn't the only middle school graduate to pose with Ronald. Although the photo line generally topped out at age 11 or 5-2, there were plenty of exceptions.

Little folks enjoyed the visit.

Jillian Lamberty, 6, of Dearing had never seen Ronald in person, "only on commercials and shows." Jillian and sister Teagan, 9, and brother Ramon, 4, were early in line.

Hannah Garner, 5, of Thomson had never stood tiny- toe-to-enormous-toe with Ronald but had seen him "on TV." Haley, 1, reserved comment.

Ward Tilley, 6, of Boone, N.C., did not reserve comment. "He's fun," Ward said. His sister Elizabeth, 4, seemed to be having fun, too, but not as much fun as their grandparents, Harold and Carol Ward. For the record, the Wards did not pose with Ronald.

Baylea Jones, 9, and Haley Gundy, 11, had a couple years on most of Ronald's visitors. Except for Steve, of course. And maybe one or two others.

You have to admire folks who take their work seriously but who know when not to take themselves too seriously. The world would be a much happier place if folks knew when to share in a chuckle or two.

Like Jimmy Roberts, a new hire at McDonald's. He was handing out lapel stickers that read, "I had my picture taken with Ronald McDonald."

He had a great smile for all us kids, but I didn't think he was ever gonna let go of that sticker.

Web posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011

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