Parents, Beware of the Ice Cream Man (Seriously)

Jacqueline Burt Cote

ice cream truckThe Ice Cream Man cometh ... quick, run away before the kids see him! You know the feeling that goes through you when you hear that dang truck's jingle approaching, and children everywhere start begging for overpriced frozen treats.

Beware! You might think a plain vanilla cone is more wholesome than a neon SpongeBob SquarePants popsicle, but not if it's being served up by the unsanitary paws of a guy like Yassir Hassan, recently snagged by Philadelphia police officers for driving his ice cream truck drunk. Horrible, yes, but here's the really icky part: When cops investigated the truck, they found boxes of wine and multiple bottles of urine stashed all over the place, even in the freezer case. That just ain't cool!

As grossed out as I was to hear this story, I wasn't surprised. A few years ago, the ice cream man who hovered over our local playground like a malnourished vulture got busted for doing the same thing (sans wine): Peeing into cups and bottles in his truck, then immediately going back to selling soft-serve without even washing his hands. I get it, these trucks don't come equipped with bathrooms and a guy's gotta go when a guy's gotta go, but for the love of god, park your truck near a Starbucks or a McDonald's or someplace with a public bathroom, or at least carry around a bottle of freaking Purell!

I haven't banned my kids from going to ice cream trucks entirely because I would feel like I was robbing them of an essential childhood experience. But we do have a rule: We only purchase packaged items from that dirty-handed dude. In this case, I feel like the artificial color cocktail of a Rocket Pop is a healthier bet (at least there's a layer of packaging to act as a germ guard).

Would you buy your kid a cone from an ice cream truck?


Image via SqueakyMarmot/Flickr

Read More