A London McDonald’s worker who regularly serenades diners with popular songs has become a local celebrity.
Richard Walker says cheery customers return to the Liverpool Street branch to ask when his next show is.
The 31-year-old hosts sing-a-longs ‘almost every night’ after first belting out tunes at the fast food restaurant five years ago.
Now his performances have come to prominence on social media and Richard says he has been brought to tears by the reaction to his microphone-aided songs – and even met pop star Sam Smith.
The customer experience leader has been working at McDonald’s since 2012, but it took until 2017 for him to first showcase his talents.
Richard, from Streatham, explained: ‘I sing almost every night. Sometimes just a few songs, sometimes I can go all night long – just call me Lionel Richie Walker!
‘I wait for the shift to be staffed well enough so people don’t start asking, “why doesn’t he just get my cheeseburger?” – and I will get going.’
The fast food worker, who says he has always loved to sing, added that he realised he was ‘onto something’ when returning customers came back to the branch days after his first show talking about the performance.
‘I offered to sing inside the store, because even if I wasn’t very good, the sheer oddity of someone singing over burgers would be shocking enough – it would be a memorable novelty’, he explained.
‘Many people tell me how I’ve helped them through a rubbish time they’ve had.
‘One older woman listened to me singing for weeks and told me I helped her cope with her sister’s death – that brought me to tears.
‘I like to show people that there are gifted people behind the McDonald’s counter – I hope it improves the sometimes negative stereotypes of fast food workers. We are gifted human beings.’
He says the gigging is hard work, but that he is humbled by ‘surprised and happy people’ dancing, singing and filming him.
Richard now believes he’s put on hundreds of shows, featuring songs by Bruno Mars, Bob Marley and Robbie Williams, among others.
He likes to choose songs that fast food lovers can sing along to – like ‘Angels’ and ‘Stand By Me’, while also entertaining his colleagues.
‘I never thought anybody would ever enjoy anything I did quite like this’, he says, with video footage showing customers singing along as they wait for their food and listen out for orders in the background.
Richard initially offered to sing a series of songs to help raise money for the Ronald McDonald House Charities, including ‘I Can See Clearly Now’, ‘Don’t Worry About A Thing’, and ‘Three Little Birds’.
He bought a guitar the day before for the occasion and was then asked to continue his performances in a permanent slot at the busy restaurant.
He has since raised more than £2,000 for charity.
The restaurant worker added: ‘You can literally see people say “Oh my God, he’s singing!” and light up like a bulb when they realise someone is singing in McDonalds of all places, and it lights me up too’.
‘Some sing and dance with me, we’re all energised by the customers’ reactions.
‘A few wish I’d just be quiet and make some cheeseburgers, but even they admit I have a little talent sometimes!
‘Staff always notice if I haven’t sung yet on a shift and some even make requests!’
Richard says he loves to spread positivity through his music and even if he is promoted or moves on, says he will still find a way to keep singing for his fans.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more stories like this, check our news page.