Remember when the melodic sounds of an ice cream van brought joy and wonder to a generation of kids desperate for some icy sweetness? Now it will most likely stir feelings of fear and PTSD.
Actually, that’s a bit of a generalisation, most people who want some ice cream won’t have thoughts of distress. But for one 12-year-old boy, just the mere mention of ice cream could prove triggering after he was punched by the owner of a Mr Whippy Van after his prank went a bit too far.
A court heard how 58-year-old Alan Donaldson punched a young boy after he pulled the lever of his Mr Whippy machine which ‘flooded’ the van with ice cream.
Donaldson lost the plot after the boy, who can’t be named for legal reasons, asked for a free ice cream and if he could pull the dispenser handle.
According to the court reports, Donaldson replied ‘Only if you want a smack’. The boy took it as a cue to jump up and reach for the lever and pull it, thus filling his van up with ice cream.
In a moment of anger, he hit the youngster with a clenched fist and broke one of his teeth in the process. It was an action he immediately regretted, adding he did not intend to make any contact. He told the boy ‘I didn’t mean to hit you, I thought you were further away’.
The boy then left with his friends and met his mother to tell her what WENT DOWN.
After the incident, Donaldson turned himself in at a nearby police station where he reiterated in a police interview he did not intend to hit the boy, but to scare him away.
He pleaded guilty in court and was sentenced to 120 hours community service at Guernsey Magistrates’ Court on Monday (August 20).
Prosecuting officer Jenny McVeigh said the ice cream van had been parked at the Peter Port in Guernsey on the day of the incident. During the court hearing, Donaldson’s defence said he had received many messages of support from islanders on social media.
Sam McDonald, who was defending Donaldson, told the court:
What has come to light is that he is a very well-respected member of this community.
Quite simply he had not had a good day. While this did not excuse Donaldson’s action, it did explain it.
This was a one-off out of character incident.
McDonald also added her client has a good rapport with the children he serves and is used to dealing with boisterous or ‘cheeky’ youngsters.
However, while Judge Graham McKerrell gave Donaldson full credit for the early guilty plea he told him:
One cannot go around, in any circumstances, striking 12-year-old boys.
It may well be that you had a stressful and difficult day and were using a different van.
None of that excuses what happened.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to [email protected]