The Ice Cream Man and the Little Girl with Wings

This day could not possibly go any slower. Get an ice cream truck they said, it will be fun, better then retirement. Sure. This is definitely better than sitting on a beach somewhere in Florida. Instead of that, I’m sitting in an ice cream truck on Halloween because I need to make enough to break even on this truck. I thought it would be fun, bringing joy to little kids with ice cream, but I have had more parents tell their kids ‘no’ then I expected. I even changed all the prices to just two dollars per item to get them sold. Still, parents say no. When I was a kid, we didn’t have ice cream stocked up at home so an ice cream truck was the best thing to come around the corner. I loved the sound of it, the happy little jingles were enough to bring a smile to my face. Now, it seems to be more of a nuisance.

Today is the last day I’ll be driving the truck around town. I can’t really justify continuing in November. I haven’t gotten very far today though, which makes sense considering it’s Halloween and kids are getting a bunch of free candy. I drove around for a while, but decided to just park because I wasn’t getting any business anyhow. About half an hour later, I hear something.

*knock knock knock*

I couldn’t believe I had heard a knock on the truck. I looked out but saw nothing.

*knock knock knock*

There must be someone out there, or else I’m going crazy. I push myself out my window a little further to see a young girl, maybe three or four, standing there in an angel costume. As soon as I acknowledge her presence, she is telling me all the things she wants from my truck.

“I want that one! And that one! And that one! And that angel shaped one over there!”

I could see a young couple out in the distance, and I assumed they were her parents. This little girl was so adamant about ice cream. “Have you spoken with your parents? That sure is a lot if ice cream for one little girl.”

“Yup!” she shouts with more enthusiasm then I have heard in a long time.

“Well, do you have the money to pay for all that?” I ask, trying to stay serious.

She responds with an “Umm…” and counts out the money in front of me in a soft whisper. “one…two..three..five..I have five dollars! What can I get with that?” It was the kind of whisper where you know she hasn’t yet realized she can do that in her head so she has to do it out loud. I remember when my kids were that young. Now my kids have kids this age. “Well, you’ll have to narrow it down to two pieces of ice cream.”  I take the four dollars, that she thought was five, and wait for a response.

“Okay, I’m going to need a minute to think.” “Would it help if I lay out all the things you chose?” “Yeah!” “Okay, so we have the frozen strawberry lemonade, the ice cream cone, the strawberry shortcake and the angel shaped popsicle.”

After about five minutes of watching the little girl, I can clearly see she is not going to be able to make a decision. Just a minute in, she began to bite her finger nails, making it look as though this was a life changing decision. Maybe for her it was. I don’t think she should necessarily have to make too many decisions at this age, at least not any major ones. So I offer up my suggestion, taking note of her costume and the fact that I’m very confident that she won’t be able to eat both items now. “How about this? What if you get the frozen strawberry lemonade, because it is the easiest one to save for later, and the angel popsicle, because it matches the costume you have on?”

The little girl’s eyes lit up, and she said, “okay!” as she bounced up and down in place. If she bounced any harder, she would have taken flight. She handed me the money, and I said, “okay, I’m going to give you your ice cream now, but I need you to stop bouncing, just for a second, okay?” I could no longer hide the smile on my face. The little girl immediately stopped bouncing, and stuck her hands out, waiting for the ice cream. “Okay, here you go, have fun little angel.” And just as quickly as she had shown up, she had disappeared, running off ecstatically to be with her parents. The innocence of a child is amazing and it is what I believe I miss most about being young. To not have the knowledge about the world you live in, to still be able to see the joy and beauty in the simple things around us.

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