BARBOURSVILLE — Jacob Lowe knows how to put smiles on the faces of everyone he meets.
“He just brings joy to everyone,” said Lowe’s mother, Shirley Sansom.
Lowe is a 28-year-old Barboursville man with autism who has his own ice cream truck, thanks to his mother, Cabell County Deputy Sheriff Ron “Bocky” Miller and his community.
“In the fall he said to me, out of the blue, ‘I want an ice cream truck,’” Sansom said. “I said, ‘Buddy, you find an ice cream truck and we’ll get you one.’”
After exploring on the internet, Lowe found an ice cream truck in Pike County, Kentucky, and showed it to his mom.
“I called the gentleman that owned the ice cream truck and said I have a special needs son who wants to start his own ice cream truck business and we want to come out and look at it,” Sansom said. “He was very nice and lowered the price $1,000 before we even got there. Then when we got there and he met Jacob he knocked another $1,000 off the price.”
The old ice cream truck needed a paint job, a new logo, decals, new tires and some mechanical repairs.
“It was in pretty rough shape and we knew it would take additional funding to get it all fixed up,” she said.
That’s when Miller stepped into the picture.
“I met Jacob several years ago and we just had an instant bond, so when I heard about his ice cream truck venture I wanted to help in any way I could,” Miller said.
Miller started a GoFundMe page to help subsidize the enterprise.
“We raised enough money to help get many of things that needed to be fixed and done thanks to the amazing support of the community,” he said. “It was so great to see that in today’s society we still have so many people that want to help others in need. Jacob has been through a lot and is still going through a lot. I just wanted him to know that myself, along with hundreds of other law enforcement officers, are here to support him as well.”
Lowe is now known as “The Ice Cream Guy,” a name he picked. His truck has a specially designed logo with an artistic drawing of his image made by Alley Cat Signs in Lavalette.
“That’s me,” Lowe said while standing with his mom, Miller and Bob Cooke, his respite provider, for a photograph.
Cooke, a special education teacher at Cabell Midland High School, has been driving the truck for Lowe this summer.
“Jacob went to the church I went to and I got to know him and wanted to help him any way I could,” he said. “It’s so cool to be working with him on an ice cream truck.”
Cooke says as the truck drives through neighborhoods, children dash out of their homes to get some ice cream and other tasty treats.
“He loves to put smiles on the faces of everyone he meets,” Cooke said.
The ice cream truck goes out at 11 a.m. every day. It offers classic, cool treats such as ice cream bars, Choco Tacos, Drumsticks, ice cream sandwiches, multi-colored popsicles and other summertime treats.
“He even sells doggie ice cream, which has become real popular,” Sansom said. “Jacob even has his own bottled water with his logo on it made from the Lesage water plant.”
They also take the ice cream truck to lots of special events for church groups, birthday parties and weddings, Sansom added.
The business was going to start on May 1, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sansom said they started it a little earlier in April.
“We just thought about everyone being stuck at home due to coronavirus, so we decided to just venture out to put some smiles on some kids’ faces,” she said.
Sansom said her son also came up with the idea of selling masks and window decals with proceeds going to autism awareness.
“He such a good young man and is always thinking of others,” she said. “He just wants to make everyone happy.”
For more information about Ice Cream Guy, call 304-638-0594.