Daniel Marshall was bullied at school and at work, but he found his perfect job at McDonald's in Arden Hills, Minnesota.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 30, 2021. It has since been updated.
Every customer visiting McDonald's drive-thru at Arden Hills, Minnesota, is greeted by high-school graduate Daniel Marshall and they absolutely love it. "He really brightens my day," says a customer driving by. Daniel Marshall, who's autistic, has found the perfect job. The 22-year-old greets customers starting out with "BA, DA, BA, DA, DA!” mimicking the familiar McDonald’s jingle, before addressing them as “boss,” “captain,” "superstar," and "rockstar,” among other things. He likes to customize tunes once he learns the customer's name. He even sings out their order and keeps them entertained as they wait for it. “This guy is great," said Mark Lozano, listening to Marshall sing from the driver’s seat of his SUV, reported Kare 11. “Thank you so much for choosing Arden Hills McDonald's,” Marshall can be heard telling leaving customers, before greeting the next without breaking stride. “My name is Daniel. How are you today?"
In the drive-thru at the Arden Hills, McDonalds, Daniel Marshall will sing you a welcome, give you a nickname and send you back on the road with a smile. Customers line up. Now, they will also know a much deeper story behind Daniel. KARE tonite@10pm #land10kstories pic.twitter.com/ZjzDTCRnyj— Boyd Huppert (@BoydHuppert) May 18, 2021
Marshall has a knack for striking up a connection with customers and they love it. “He really puts a smile on my face,” said Emily Rabe, laughing from her driver’s seat. “When I’m having a mental breakdown as a student, he really brightens my day.” Marshall feels at home in this job. He was diagnosed with autism in elementary school and had been bullied growing up. “I was different from a lot of people,” said Daniel. “I was called names, like, I was dumb, I was stupid, I was ret*rded,” he added. The bullying and teasing continued after high school as well.
Places where he worked often let him go as they found his positivity off-putting. “Every day they would say to him, ‘You just need to quit. Isn't there somewhere else you would like to work,’” said Daniel’s mom. When Marshall joined McDonald's in Arden Hills, Minnesota, the manager, Ashley Sicora, viewed his positive energy as an asset. “I understand how he ticks,” said Ashley. “My youngest son is actually autistic as well.” In many ways, Ashley sees her youngest son, Liam, 10, in Marshall.
What do you say about a guy who lives to make people happy? At the @McDonalds in Arden Hills, MN where Daniel Marshall works, people are saying plenty: https://t.co/SjSoYMlYjr #land10kstories pic.twitter.com/C24fyiJMEQ— Boyd Huppert (@BoydHuppert) May 18, 2021
At home, Ashley has seen her son hyperfocus on things like space and the planets. She sees a similar focus in Marshall but she encourages him to channel that into customer service. “When you see somebody like Daniel. It's just kind of reassuring that it's going to be okay and he'll figure out his own way,” said Ashley. Customers love the energy Marshall brings to the place when he greets them. Customers often send message complimenting the polite, enthusiastic young man who greets them. The notes are all uplifting. “Daniel is outstanding,” reads one, while another reads, “You have found a gem.” One customer calls it the "best drive-thru ever."
Former Minnesota Viking Tim Baylor is the owner of the Arden Hills McDonald’s and he keeps getting compliments about Daniel. “He literally makes people's day,” said Tim. “Daniel is what you want.” Ashely showed her appreciation for his work by hanging a yellow sign beneath the golden arches in front of the restaurant, reading, “WE ARE LOVING DANIEL!!!! preceded by Daniel’s signature greeting, “BA, DA, BA, DA, DA.” For Daniel, he's found a place that respects him and he loves the work. “It's home. It's a brand-new opportunity for me to be somebody in the world," said Daniel. His Mom, Cheryl Marshall, is incredibly proud of him.