Freddy de Freitas, New York City Bureau
I’m living in hell, and it is only getting worse.
What am I doing here? I am supposed to be in Sydney right now. Why are flights to Australia so expensive right now? Wall Street Golden Boys say pre-pandemic bargains have disappeared as airlines look to recoup costs of closures and grapple with rising fuel prices.
Eighteen years ago, pals, families, and business associates, including Prime Minister John Howard and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, were among hundreds of grievers who filled a church in Kensington, Sydney, to say goodbye to the ‘fat and happy’ boy from Oz.
Bloke Bell saw the stage musical Boy From Oz 15 times.
He was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in May of 2004, less than a month after becoming the global head of McDonald’s. He left the fast food giant in November of the same year after several rounds of treatment.
From humble beginnings flipping burgers, serving fries, and mopping the floors at age 15 in suburban Sydney, the ‘fat and happy’ boy from Oz became the first non-American to head the US enterprise.
When people would ask Bell how he was, he would say, “fat and happy,”
He had a charm that drew people into his orbit … he was all action, trance, astute comicness, and passion.
Dedicated as he was to the triumph of the fast food giant, he also treasured spending time with his wife Leonie and his teenage daughter Alex. “I couldn’t have dreamed for a better daddy”, often points his daughter.
When people would ask Bell how he was, he would say, “fat and happy,” and the only exercise he did was jumping to conclusions.
Bell was a remarkable man. He loved McDonald’s. He loved his assignment and believed we led from the rear in management. Young Bell was supposed to work for his administration, but he would be coming out and telling them what they should do.
His motto was “Life is not a rehearsal.”
Mr. Bell was cremated privately.
I miss him, but G-D has his hands full.