Bravery award for McDonald's manager
posted on 4th June 2018
Congratulations to Mike Riley, the McDonald's manager who has received a New Zealand Bravery Decoration in the Queen's Birthday Honours for his cool actions when a gunman walked into his Upper Hutt store. He kept many people from harm.
Mike Riley went to work to sell burgers and left a hero. A police officer, only known as Officer S, has also received a bravery award for the same incident when an agitated Pera Smiler, 25, walked into Upper Hutt McDonald's on September 8, 2015 with a .303 rifle.
Riley, a McDonald's manager, then aged 34, was out the back when a staff member screamed that a man with a gun had came in and Riley's first steps, of many, to heroism were taken.
"I could see my staff on the floor crying, I could see my close friend on the phone to her partner ... I decided I would try to talk to [Smiler]," Riley told Stuff.
What transpired next saw Riley getting staff and customers out of the building, stopping a father and daughter coming back in from the playground, checking the toilets to see if anyone else was left inside, then, remarkably, offering to cook the gunman a burger.
As he walked from place to place, checking it was clear, he had Smiler - alternating between high-agitation and calm - yelling behind him, often with a gun on him, sometimes aimed at his head, and hinting that things could end badly.
"I just said, 'I have a son and I want to go home and see him'. I think that resonated with him." These days Riley who now works in recruitment, just has sympathy for Smiler and his family.