Many people have fond childhood memories of celebrating birthdays at Chuck E. Cheese. The games! The pizza! The prizes!
And while a lot of former kids may think they know everything about the popular arcade-restaurant and its namesake rodent, did you ever stop to ponder what Chuck was really like as a child? It turns out that this cheerful mouse has been hiding a very depressing secret past.
By now, you likely know that Chuck E. Cheese is an animal who loves to sing and have a good time. But it wasn't always pizza and prizes for this music-loving mouse.
Someone on Twitter recently shed some light on Mr. Cheese's history, revealing that he grew up in an orphanage. Sad. But even sadder? Young Chuck loved celebrating other kids' birthdays growing up because — get the tissues ready — he never knew his own.
BuzzFeed later confirmed that the story is indeed true, and unearthed a digital copy of a children's book called "The Story of Chuck E. Cheese" on the restaurant's website. A Chuck E. Cheese representative later confirmed to TODAY Food that the brand first published the story to its website around 2012, so it hasn't been around since the chain's inception in the late 1970s.
The story opens by explaining that a young mouse named Chuck grew up in an orphanage called St. Marinara's, thus setting the stage for his pizza-loving personality to develop. Readers also learn that Chuck E. Cheese — whose middle name is actually Entertainment — always loved the song "Happy Birthday," yet he had never heard it sung to himself.
However, with so many kids around the orphanage, the little mouse had a lot of opportunities to celebrate with other kids, and he came to truly love birthday parties.
Then Chuck E. Cheese grew up and had to leave the orphanage because adults can't live with kids. More sadness. He moved to New York City to be around a lot of people but he still "felt lonely." To spice things up, he started secretly living in a pizza parlor. He loved the music and the delicious aroma of pizza, but couldn't hide for long.
Soon the owner, a man named Pasqually, found Chuck E. Cheese and tried to chase him away.
Nervous, the mouse began to sing and, lo and behold, his angelic voice blew the owner away.
"A mouse that can sing? My restaurant is saved! I'm a-gonna make you a star!" Pasqually said. He was so inspired by Chuck that he changed the name of his restaurant to "Chuck E. Cheese's, home of the world-famous singing mouse."
But there was still more sadness to come.
During Chuck's first performance, the audience booed him! But when he finally sang "Happy Birthday" to a lone child in the audience, the crowd perked up, and the rest is history.
The happy mouse went on to sing with several friends and he convinced Pasqually to incorporate games into the restaurant.
While we were all getting our game on and noshing on pizza, it turns out Chuck E. Cheese was hiding a pretty dark back personal story.
But all's well that ends well, and it's clear that Chuck's adversity just made him a better person, er, mouse-man.
"Today, Chuck E. Still loves birthday parties, pizza and music!" a Chuck E. Cheese representative said.