U.S. citizens traveling in Austria and in need of help from the U.S. Embassy can now receive assistance at any McDonald’s franchise location.
Wait … what?
In a Facebook post, the U.S. Embassy in the Austrian capital of Vienna explained:
American citizens traveling in Austria who find themselves in distress and without a way to contact the U.S. Embassy can enter – as of Wednesday, May 15, 2019 – any McDonald’s in Austria, and staff will assist them in making contact with the U.S. Embassy for consular services (e.g. report a lost or stolen passport, or seek travel assistance).
The fast-food joints will only serve as a point of contact, and will not be able to perform actual consular services.
The announcement was posted along with a photo of Trevor Traina, the U.S. ambassador to Austria, along with Isabelle Kuster, the managing director of McDonald’s in Austria.
A Facebook user asked the embassy if this would be “in lieu of a staffed embassy?”
“Certainly not,” the embassy responded. “Our Embassy is fully staffed and ready to assist American citizens in need. This partnership is only one extra way for Americans to connect to the Embassy when they are in an emergency situation.”
The Memorandum of Agreement was signed on May 10, but only went into effect on Wednesday.
McDonald’s spokesman Wilhelm Baldia told the Independent that American officials had contacted the company about the idea.
“We were approached with the request by the U.S. Consulate. Firstly, because of the brand’s great fame among Americans, and secondly, because there are a lot of branches in Austria,” Baldia said.
Perhaps fittingly, the German translation of “U.S. citizen” is “U.S. Bürger.”