Archive for August, 2015

Cabin John Ice-Cream Truck War

IMG_6070I had not been to Cabin John Regional Park since I read about a rash of car break-ins in the parking lot. But today we decided to go with a mission in mind. My son needed a hiking stick. His school’s theme for the month of August is camping and this month his take home project is to create and decorate a hiking stick. Of all the local parks, Cabin John, nestled in the woods, seemed to be the perfect place to play and find that perfect hiking stick. Within seconds we found one.

While I held the hiking stick, my son climbed and played. We heard the ice cream truck come and go. My son had never been to an ice cream truck so he does not yet associate that recognizable musical chime with ice cream even though we hear it every time we are at Cabin John Park.

Awhile later we were on the lower half of the playground, close to where the truck stops, when I heard that familiar sound. The children near my son were excited for ice cream. He looked at me quizzically. I took his hand, asked if he wanted ice-cream (yes), and then we rushed to get in line as there was only one family left in line by the time we decided to join.

My son looked at the pictures on the side of the truck and chose the blue shaved ice. As the ice cream driver went to prepare the shaved ice, a man in a maroon shirt seemingly came out of nowhere and whacked the side of the ice cream truck with a long iron rod. He hit it with such force I was taken aback and stepped back as I was worried about my son and just thankful that he wasn’t hit in the process. I’m not even sure if this man saw us or not, but he was only inches away. He started yelling something about having a permit for his ice cream truck and our driver apparently did not. Both men shouted at each other and both men called the police.

IMG_6073By now a crowd had gathered. Parents were curious about the police presence and children stood staring as many of them wanted ice cream, but sweets were no longer being served; just verbal jabs.

My ice-cream driver told me that I was a witness and he wanted me to talk to the police when they arrived and I agreed. It’s hard to say how long it took for the police to arrive, maybe 5-10 minutes, maybe less. But they arrived in force. There were multiple police cars and at least three officers.

They handcuffed the driver of the permitted truck for assault. One officer talked to him and took his statement while another officer took a statement from the other driver. At this point my son was tugging at me and wanted to leave. I didn’t blame him. I didn’t expect to get a serving of police officers the first time he ordered from an ice cream truck. I went up to one of the officers, said I was a witness and that the driver wanted me to give a statement, but my son wanted to leave. He took my statement. I described what happened, gave my driver’s license for identification purposes, and then my son decided he wanted to stay. So we continued to eat the shaved ice and play while parents asked me what happened and if I tweeted it out so they could retweet. I confessed to being somewhat illiterate when it came to social media. This is the best I could do.

At the end of the day, neither driver was arrested. The driver with the permit was allowed to leave and eventually the driver without the permit was also allowed to drive away. The police officer I spoke with said that many of the ice cream trucks don’t have permits. I for one had no idea a simple summer pleasure could become so complicated.

IMG_6074I feel for the driver with the permit, but at the same time do not condone that kind of violent outburst in an environment full of children. He made it very clear that trucks without permits are taking away his business. I’m not sure what the solution to this problem is? More enforcement? No more ice cream trucks? I for one don’t plan on buying ice-cream at Cabin John again anytime soon. As for my son, he apparently wasn’t traumatized because when we left he asked for more ice-cream.

 

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