You and the Ice Cream ‘Man’

Abundance Happiness Purpose


Key Point: What if we all thought of our jobs as if we were selling ice cream? I remember growing up as a kid and hearing the chimes of the ice cream truck. As the music came closer, every child scrambled home to beg for enough coin to buy a cone or other frozen delight before the truck left the area. Happiness was getting to the ice cream truck, fully out of breath but in time to make that big decision. In your mind’s eye can you visualize the happy smiles in line, arms and legs flailing in gleeful anticipation of that first bite?

“I love it as a career – it’s great seeing the kids so happy.” That’s a quote from Britain’s longest serving ice cream man. And according to the May 25 issue of the Mirror, he plans to carry on dishing out cones until he reaches the age of 99. Sandro Foldi, 86, got his first van 54 years ago and has sold over 1,350,000 ice creams. He also likes to talk to people… “It’s a very social job, and I’ve served customers who come from all over the world.”

Imagine loving something so much that doing it until the age of 99 is a treat. Maybe Sandro isn’t using the “retirement” word, because he is in the happiness business? And why would one retire from dishing out continuous cones of joy, while chatting up people everyday? Everybody who comes to see you wants to buy a little bit of bliss. How cool is that? 

As the Chief People Officer, my job is to make our organization “The Place to Work,” and it is a little like being the ice cream man. Everything my team and I try and do is to make the “people journey” better, work environment more nourishing, and work-life richer in every way. I feel like the company’s ice cream man. So Sandro, I get your vibe, man. I really do. (Although I am likely making people at work nervous regarding the “99-years-old” commitment part of the story, haha).

Character Moves:

  1. Find the “ice cream ‘man’” in yourself. Every job is different, and for many, it would be silly or trite to compare their responsibilities to the life of someone who serves frozen desserts from a van. However, almost all positions have some redeeming purpose that makes things better for others. Even people who work in tough areas like debt collections can help make peoples’ lives less miserable or give them hope. Our mission is to find ourselves in those roles and deliver as much happiness and good will as we can. It most often begins by simply acknowledging another’s presence. Being seen and heard by someone who genuinely cares is often even better than eating ice cream. We ALL can do that. 

Being the “ice cream man” in The Triangle,


One Millennial View: Guys like Sandro have it figured out in a lot of ways that most of us probably don’t think about. If you click on the link, you’ll notice Sandro doesn’t look too shabby for 86. He’s wearing a slightly torn hat he’s probably put on with pride each day since the 60’s (but certainly doesn’t have to anymore), and in one of his quotes from the article; he says “everyone knows me around here.” You can imagine the relationships with all his distributors are as seamless as the ones he develops with his customers… His van probably hums along with a million stories earned from his decades of sales. He must notice something new every time he drives the same monotonous routes. As far as I’m concerned, if a man can tolerate listening to constant Ice Cream Truck music for 54 years, you know he doesn’t let a lot of nonsense get stuck in his head.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis