Demopolis retiree warms hearts by serving cold treats

Published 2:28 am Saturday, May 30, 2009

Gene Maddox has spent the last three years doing what he loves, selling ice cream to the people of Demopolis and Linden.

“I just love seeing the smiling kid’s faces, adults too,” said Maddox.

In his big truck that blares catchy tunes Maddox rumbles down the streets of Demopolis and Linden giving out ice cream to neighborhood boys and girls. As he rides down the road children who hear his music come running down the street, trying to catch the truck only to turn back to ask their parents for money. It is a scene that brings joy to Maddox’s heart.

“I love kids, and there is nothing more rewarding than taking a curve and kids are running up and down the block trying to get you to come to them.”

Maddox has spent his entire life living in Demopolis, except for the years that he was a part of our nation’s Army as a helicopter and fixed wing pilot. After retiring from the Army he worked several different jobs, spanning from the land, air, and water. After retirement, he felt that he still wanted to be active, but also be close to home.

“I looked around at what people where doing. (I wanted) to do something different,” said Maddox “I noticed that there wasn’t anything just for the kids.”

He got help in the idea of being an ice cream man from his friend and his friend’s brother, who have been selling ice cream for 28 years.

“He gave me a lot of input to take into consideration prior to getting involved in the business,” said Maddox. After that, it was time to get to work for Maddox. “I just went along and bought my truck and a bunch of other stuff and just got started.” Maddox prides himself on the effort that he has put in to make his two trucks not only colorful enough to attract the children, but safe enough to keep the kids out of harm’s way.

“I’m very, very safety conscious, especially around kids. I have a safety sign and slow down sign for children sign on the back of my truck,” said Maddox. “Sometimes I will drive around the block and come back to keep the kids from crossing the street.”

Maddox said that he got into the ice cream business just for the fun of it, but it has grown to help him as much as he helps the customers.

“I’m not in it for the business. I’m in this for the enjoyment. I don’t have to punch a clock and I don’t have to work if I don’t want to and it gives me something to do. It’s also just relaxing,” he said.

Don’t take that to mean he doesn’t work hard to bring the people their cooling refreshments. “I usually start at 11 in the morning and go until seven or so, depending on the weather,” said Maddox. He splits his time between Demopolis and Linden, working Demopolis every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. He is in Linden on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and after church on Sunday. So when you hear that familiar song playing and see the white truck coming down the street, take the time to be a kid again and enjoy a bit of ice cream from Gene. He is more than happy to serve you.