City Desk

Peace, Harmony and Ice Cream

Ice cream man

Some residents in a gentrifying part of Capitol Hill have apparently made up their minds: they scream, you scream; truly, we all scream for ice cream.

And as a result, they're no longer hounding ice cream man Hamidu Jalloh. Jalloh—who has been driving a Good Humor truck on a route that takes him through the neighborhood for the past 18 years—had recently had trouble with neighbors who kept calling the cops on him. The callers both complained about the melody that issued from his truck ("Turkey in the Straw") and voiced suspicions that Jalloh was dealing drugs along with his ice cream cones.

What made them think he was selling anything besides sandwiches and bars? Jalloh drives his turf all year round. "Who sells ice cream in winter?" neighbors would ask.

Despite their animosity, Jalloh was adamant about staying around: “You’ve only been here a few years,” he would tell the complainers. “If you guys come here, you’re not going to change us! We do ice cream in this city!”

Washington City Paper wrote a cover story in April on Jalloh, detailing the complaints against him—and revealing the fact that he also sells hot items like nachos, which accounts for most of his winter roaming. The story, for which City Paper spent time riding around with Jalloh in his tiny, puttering vehicle, seems to have done the trick.

"We all came to understand each other now," says Jalloh during a recent phone call. He says he's no longer getting pulled over, and that some of his former critics have even become customers. He also says nowadays, he cuts his music off at 9 p.m. on the dot.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

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