Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A strawberry shake to go

Hot summer days. Sweltering days when ice cubes and air conditioning feel mighty good. We all head for ice cream to soothe the spirit and cool the body. A strawberry shake to tame the savage heat.

Angola is a sweet little town surrounded by farms and lakes. I love small towns. Not much happens except for good neighboring and a bit of gossip here and there. However last week something happened that made neighbors nervous enough to start a neighborhood watch. A little town chilled to the bone.

The tinkling bells of the ice cream truck draws children from up and down the street. Parents gather  their change and follow the sound to buy ice cream treats for themselves as well as for the kids. It was the end of a hot day. 9:15pm to be exact. The driver of the ice cream truck stopped when the car behind her flashed its lights. She assumed the driver wanted ice cream: "A man ordered a strawberry milkshake and said, 'I want all of your money.'" He indicated that he had a gun but never showed it. The thief got away with $400. I'm not sure if he got the milkshake.

Who would think to rob an ice cream truck? I just don't get it. Seems that the simple things of safety and trust get further away all the time. The quiet neighborhood where children run across lawns, folks sit on their porches and sound of the ice cream truck are just part of life is changing into a place of mistrust. Was the robber local? No one knows for sure. Another similar incident happened a few days later in Ft. Wayne. During this robbery the ice cream truck driver was assaulted.

We have little carts that are pedaled around our neighborhoods in Portland. The kids run alongside the carts loving the sound and the treats that go with it. Some of our drivers are Hindi and wear a turban. A cultural experience for the children. Again, parents gather their money and head out to buy the neighborhood kids treats. Everyone recognizes the driver and waves as he pedals by. The summer experience is savored as the ice cream is devoured. Summer wouldn't be quite the same if ice cream was delivered in an armored car.

It's hard to believe that someone would actually rob such a delightful thing as an ice cream truck. I can imagine someone might be tempted to ask for a free cone. I never heard if the robber paid for his shake or not. And, obviously, the get away driver in the car was passing on the ice cream and going straight for the money. A simple order of a shake became a shakedown. A strawberry shake to go.

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