Teen lands job as testing officer for Toys ‘R’ Us

Daniel M.P. Wilson is not your typical corporate executive. He has the charm, work ethic and firm handshake. He even likes golf.

Daniel Wilson

TORONTO — Daniel M.P. Wilson is not your typical corporate executive. He has the charm, work ethic and firm handshake. He even likes golf.

But he also has tons of math homework and braces on his teeth.

The 13-year-old recently landed a dream job: “chief play officer” for Toys “R” Us Canada. The brown-eyed budding actor from Uxbridge, northeast of Toronto, gets to play for a living — at least when he’s not at school, on the hockey rink, singing at the piano or acting in community theatre.

Daniel is one of two appointments made in Canada to mark the toy chain’s 25th anniversary here. He has the title for English Canada while 13-year-old Laurie-Kim Gosselin of Mastouche, Que., has the job in French Canada.

Here’s a profile of the new recruit as he undertakes his one-year term.

Mission: To give his grown-up colleagues The Kid Perspective and help parents wade through the toy jungle. “I’m the person who lets the adults know what the hot toys are this season.”

Priorities: Talking up toys with kids and adult shoppers; announcing top picks for the holidays.

How: On Facebook and his blog. How else do teens communicate? But he’s also an adolescent boy who talks in full sentences. Stay tuned for personal appearances.

How he landed the job: Responded to a call for 13-year-olds that went out to performing arts agencies. (That’s the legal age for using Facebook.) Beat out 100 other applicants thanks to his energy, personality and creativity with toys.

Experience: Thirteen years of toy training and playing with three brothers.

Employment history: “I babysat my little brother over the summer.”

Chief adviser: His eight-year-old brother Jonathan.

Workspace: Family room with comfy couches, chocolate-coloured walls and a picture window overlooking a sprawling backyard.

Workday attire: Plaid shirt over a white T-shirt and jeans.

Hours: The Grade 9 student gets up at 5:30 a.m. for a power breakfast of waffles and syrup to catch the long ride on public transit to his Oshawa school. Hits the sack by 9 p.m. on weekdays.

Favourite toys: Diplomats don’t name names. But Lego and Spider-Man rank right up there.

Least favourite: “I haven’t encountered a toy I don’t like.” Crafts are good. He won’t even diss Barbie (he’s played with girl cousins).

Preferred Teletubby: Po (the red one).

Earliest toy memories: Wooden dinosaur puzzle; building with Duplo. At age six, he asked for an Easy Bake Oven “and I thought it was the coolest thing.”

Remuneration: Undisclosed salary. “I’m not really allowed to discuss the terms of my contract.”

Bonus: Extremely low risk of boredom.

Best part of the job: Do you really have to ask?

Best perk: When asked to do the dishes, he can head for the toys, saying, “Sorry, Mom, I have work to do.”

Worst part of the job: “Probably giving back the toys.”

Inside scoop on the new hire: “It’s taking our brand positioning one step further,” says company vice-president Liz MacDonald. Appointing play officers reinforces “we’re all about kids.”

Outside scoop: “It’s a gimmick,” says New York toy industry analyst Christopher Byrne. “I think it’s for the cute factor.”

The last word: “My feet really haven’t touched the ground since I got this job,” says Daniel.

Just Posted

Parenting: Every woman will have a different pregnancy experience

Wife whose hormones are unbalanced can be unpleasant experience

Men posing as repo men attempt to steal vehicle in Red Deer County

Two men attempted to steal a utility vehicle from a Red Deer… Continue reading

Red Deerian spreads kindness with one card at a time

One Red Deerian wants to combat bullying by spreading kindness in the… Continue reading

Bowden baby in need of surgery

“Help for Alexis” Go Fund Me account

PHOTO: First Rider bus safety in Red Deer

Central Alberta students learned bus safety in the Notre Dame High School… Continue reading

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard’s alleged sex offences case returns to court

TORONTO — The case of Hedley frontman Jacob Hoggard, who faces three… Continue reading

Fredericton woman recounts terrifying moments after gunshots rang out

FREDERICTON — She awoke to the crack of gunfire, the shots fired… Continue reading

Climate change likely to cause more sewage leaks, McKenna says

OTTAWA — More than one hundred municipal wastewater systems did not report… Continue reading

Woman has finger ripped off at West Edmonton Mall waterslide

SASKATOON — A Saskatchewan woman says she lost a finger after her… Continue reading

Uncertainty looms over Canada’s cannabis tourism, but ambitions are high

TORONTO — Longtime marijuana advocate Neev Tapiero is ready for the cannabis-driven… Continue reading

Feds mulling safeguards to prevent ‘surge’ of cheap steel imports into Canada

OTTAWA — The federal government extended an olive branch of sorts to… Continue reading

Ontario govt caps off summer session by passing bill to cut Toronto council size

TORONTO — The Ontario government passed a controversial bill to slash the… Continue reading

Updated:Italian bridge collapse sends cars plunging, killing 26

MILAN — A 51-year-old highway bridge in the Italian port city of… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month