No one is screaming for ice cream trucks, but they’re rolling up anyway

Businesses are frozen, but ice cream trucks haven’t melted completely.


April 17, 2020

Picture this: Outside your window, aside from a few joggers, there’s stillness. Then, suddenly, you hear it: The jingle of an ice cream truck.

Twitter users can’t stop talking about ice cream trucks dishing out treats during a pandemic, and in New York City, there’s finally a clear explanation. According to the Associated Press, those jingles you’re hearing could be coming from just 10 rogue Mister Softee trucks.

A mind-melting battle to halt the industry

Mister Softee, one of the largest ice cream truck operators in the US, really wants its drivers to stay home during quarantine. But as hard as they plead, they don’t actually have much power.

Because ice cream truck drivers are franchisees, it’s up to the individual owners to decide whether or not to go out.

In New York, drivers are panicked about making rent, and they’re serving Drumsticks while wearing gloves and face coverings to the few customers that will risk it all for a strawberry shortcake pop.

Some activists want to put drivers in a cone of shame

The trucks are stopping primarily in low-income areas, sparking fears that they will spread disease in already vulnerable communities.

In Philadelphia, one activist is staging a guerilla-style war against rogue ice cream trucks.

Asteria Vives tracks down the trucks, photographs the drivers, and sends their info to local officials.

It’s a tale of two panics: Drivers are desperate to stay financially stable, while residents are desperate to protect their neighborhoods from infection.

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