CAMPTON HILLS – Dick Royce hasn’t changed much from when he was 12, ready and willing to give away ice cream from his bicycle version of the Good Humor truck.
Then, his generosity got him fired after three days.
Now at 65, the Campton Hills retiree can – and does – give away as many ice cream bars, cones and sandwiches as he wants.
After several years of searching, Royce bought his own 1969 Ford Good Humor truck last year from a family in Avon, Conn., and, after minor improvements, had the vehicle ready by about April.
“We got lucky,” Royce said, explaining he was wrong in thinking he would find a Good Humor truck right away. “We got really lucky.”
Although Royce will give away some ice cream – to
kids with their parents’ permission and to others who look like they could use a smile – he sells the frozen treats for $2 at special events, such as car shows, community concerts and block parties.
Initially, he said, he thought one event a week would be great.
But word of the Good Humor Man has spread, he said, and his calendar is so full that he has to turn down requests.
“I’m afraid to do advertising,” said Royce, who even dresses in the traditional Good Humor Man uniform of a white shirt, blue bow tie, pants and a hat.
Taking only enough profits to cover his costs, Royce said he donates the rest to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or charities his clients support.
Royce, who has survived two bouts of cancer, said it means a lot that he and his wife, Susan, can do something for someone else.
“I’m lucky to be here,” he said.
His wife has been incredibly supportive, he said.
He said he thought she would think he was crazy when he brought up the idea five years ago as they were celebrating 35 years of marriage.
She helps at events when she can, he said.
“I am having the time of my life,” Royce said, adding it’s a lot of fun to make people smile.
His new role also adds to the fun of being a grandfather, he said.
His oldest grandchild, 3-year-old Bradley DeAngelis, likes to tell other kids what ice cream they can buy, he said.
“He’s my little helper,” Royce said, noting his other grandchildren are Kaliana DeAngelis and John Paul Kottke.
As much as Royce enjoys being the Good Humor Man, don’t ask him to play the truck’s music.
He hated it growing up, he said.
And if you’ve requested a flavor that has been pushed to the back of the freezer, be patient.
Royce carries about 1,200 treats in the truck and will dig around for the dessert kids have their hearts set on, he said.
“I don’t want to disappoint anybody,” he said.
He, however, said he doesn’t eat the ice cream. He’s diabetic.
“I can’t eat any of it,” he said. “It’s willpower.”
Campton Hills resident Dick Royce – the Good Humor Man – is available for such events as wedding receptions, reunions and birthday parties. Visit thegoodhumorman.com for more information.