Thursday, September 25, 2008
DO YOU REALLY KNOW THE ICE CREAM TRUCK MAN?
Have you noticed how the quality of the ice cream truck man has gone down hill in recent years. These days, just about any schlep can drive an ice cream truck, even teenagers and in one case in my neighborhood, a big fat, ugly Caribbean woman wearing a dirty tank top. What ever happened to the friendly men wearing freshly pressed white outfits with those ice cream truck man hats? The Good Humor guy use to dress up like that. It showed some sense of authority, trust, respect and quality.
But, this summer, I've noticed an alarming number of ice cream truck drivers doing more than just selling frozen treats. Many have been dealing drugs to kids right out of their truck windows. Some have even been busted for child molestation. Many communities across the country are trying to get their local governments to require background checks on the ice cream truck people. So, I've now compiled a sample of the sort of thing we find ice cream truck drivers doing these days, thanks to a handy Google search. Most of these occurred in the past two years. Others date back as far as 1998.
* Bensonhurst, New York: Instead of selling Rocket pops, Batman bars and Fudgesicles, these guys were peddling drugs. Cops thought something was amiss when they noticed not one, but four teenagers running the ice cream business out of the truck in this Brooklyn neighborhood. Seven people in all were arrested for selling or buying pot and hash from the truck's window.
* Washington, DC: Residents complained that the ice cream truck man was driving around Capitol Hill late at night serving up treats. But, they also noted, they never saw any children run up to the truck. Indeed, when police checked it out they found the guy was selling drugs and booze to older teenagers.
* South West Michigan: Cops busted the ice cream truck man for selling marijuana to children in the region. The name of his ice cream truck company: "Nice Dreams," as in the Cheech N' Chong movie.
* Queens, New York: Last summer in Queens, this bold ice cream truck driver parked his Mister Softee truck right in front of a local Middle school. The 26 year old driver was busted for stashing cocaine and pot between two paper cups he would hand the young customers. Police also found a .380 caliber pistol in his truck. Tough neighborhood!
* Brownsville, Texas: Parked in front of O'Grady Elementary school for two summers, this ice cream truck man had a captive audience. Police say the drug dealing driver was selling $5 and $10 dollar bags of marijuana to 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. The driver was also a Mexican national, in this country illegally. He was arrested and deported.
* Spring Hill, Florida: This summer in Spring Hill, Florida, a 34- year-old ice cream truck driver was busted after completing his route. His truck was pulled off to the side of the road and he was smoking a joint. He also admitted pounding down five bottles of beer.
* San Antonio, Texas: This guy was quite the businessman. For three years, he was the main drug dealer at a local high school. He parked his ice cream truck in front of the school almost year round (it's hot in Texas). But, this was one trendy drug dealing ice cream truck man. Besides serving up pot and cocaine, this 40-year-old driver was also selling Xanex and other prescription medications.
* Albuquerque, New Mexico: A 21 year old ice cream truck man was busted for selling drugs out of his truck. This was the second time in two months cops had arrested a driver from the same ice cream truck company.
* Falls Church, Virgina: A Good Humor driver was arrested after police watched him for three days dealing drugs out of his truck.
* Bridgewater, New Jersey: This was no ordinary drug bust. As a matter of fact, the local police ended a month long undercover operation to bust the driver of this ice cream truck. It was called "Operation Double Dip." They arrested the ice cream truck man as he was attempting to deal drugs to children in front of a Bridgewater elementary school.