I'm going to assume that it was all setup, and guess who had to start the ball rolling - YEP, the mom. I can't believe McDonalds started calling shareholders and asking if they had minor children that wanted to ask CEO Don Thompson a question. And if the Investor Relations people at MickyDs are worth their salary, if they did, they should have vetted what was going to be asked. So, I'm assuming the mom had it all set up.
Next, even if my child (unprompted) asked for my help, I would probably have said no. Hell, a 9 year old can't even have a Facebook account (per their user agreement) - so why would I want to subject my small child to both the financial media, social media, other adults in the audience, and of course the back-stabbing elite of corporate America? Once again, I blame the mom. She was naive in the most naive way - she thought the question, if asked by 9 year old, would be met with something other the full force of a Fortune 500 Global business that earns billions of dollars and rakes in profits for the same shareholders in the audience. Hell, these companies scheme and conspire to squash adults - what did you think would happen to your child?
Last, unless you are prepared for the worst of people, don't expect the best of people. We live in a world where I can say anything, do anything, be anything, or do nothing - and still be "celebrity" of the moment. Social media has given everyone the ability to shout out their opinion from their virtual soap box, while remaining anonymous. They won't say it to your face, but give them a computer, keyboard, and internet access and get ready for the body blows. I'm sorry both the CEO and this 9 year old have become punching bags (or heroes) for people around the world. But once again, I blame the mom for starting this whole thing.
She needs to step up and take responsibility - the buck stops with here.