Ice cream truck driver provides best selection, enjoys dealing with people
BY MIKAYLA BARONDEAU
Faysal “Fred” Hanson still remembers his first encounter with an ice cream truck. He was working as a mechanic in Minneapolis when he heard the bell and decided to order a chocolate Žclair from the ice cream lady.
He learned that the company was looking for employees and became a driver the following year. Two years later, he purchased his own ice cream van. Since then, he has been in the business 18 years.
“I like to deal with people. I am not an office man. I like to learn from people, stories, cultures, everything,” said Hanson.
Hanson usually visits Champlin twice a week during the summer on days when the temperature hovers above 65. He tries to cover the whole town invoking childhood memories for grown-ups and creating new ones for the youngsters he encounters along the way.
His hours are flexible, but he generally begins his route at 11 a.m. and ends around 9 p.m. He spends the rest of his week selling his cool treats in Blaine and Ramsey.
The long and hot days, indecisive customers and monotonous music are some drawbacks of his job but there are many positives too.
He likes his flexible schedule and that every week brings something new. His favorite part is joking with the kids. At times, this includes paying for a child that doesn’t have enough money.
“If a kid doesn’t have money and his friends are buying ice cream, I tell him I will pay and he will pay me back next time,” said Hanson. “In my heart, I want to make kids happy.”
Oftentimes, he does get paid back. But he says that’s not what is important.
Hanson prides himself on offering his customers a bigger selection than other ice cream trucks. He has a special freezer with separate components to ensure he keeps his products as cold as possible.
His most frequent customers are school age children, but he says that adults, both parents and grandparents, are big fans of ice cream. And each has their preferred ice cream treat.
While children go for the character bars such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer, adults gravitate towards the Choco Taco. Grandparents tend to stick to the old-fashioned flavors including Fudgsicles, ice cream bars and English-toffee bars.
Hanson’s personal favorite treats include the Oreo bar and orange Creamsicle.
Hanson says several qualities are necessary to be a successful ice cream truck driver. It’s important to have patience, smile and talk nicely to customers.
“I could not do another job,” said Hanson. “It’s in my blood.”