GARFIELD, N.J. – For three years, special education teacher Mohammad “Jordan” Alawawdeh has supplemented his income driving a pink Lickety Split ice cream truck along the streets of Glen Rock and Ridgewood.
“I drive with the music playing and I make a lot of people happy,” said Alawawdeh, a Jordanian immigrant who lives in Garfield. “They want me to come back every day and they give me business cards for birthday and graduation parties.”
But there are people who are irritated by the cheerful music his truck plays. Though it can play eight songs, he sticks to one.
“If anyone should be annoyed with the music, it’s me -- because I’m hearing it constantly,” Alawawdeh said.
Nearly every day from mid-March through the end of September, from 4 p.m. till dusk, he’s out there selling 30 different kinds of frozen treats.
“My days off are rainy days,” said Alawawdeh, 30.
Alawawdeh got into the ice cream business through his dad, Raji Alawawdeh of Paterson. The elder Alawawdeh has been driving another Lickety Split truck for almost a decade along the streets of Allendale, Midland Park and Waldwick.
Though both trucks carry lots of treats -- from chocolate chip sandwiches to Blue Bunny’s frozen fruit bars -- father and son agree there’s no such thing as a bestseller.
“People like everything,” Jordan said. “There are favorites with the parents, though. They demand the Good Humor Candy Center Crunch bar. They remember them from when they were kids. Another one like that is Good Humor Toasted Almond bars. ”
Behind all the flavors and smiles are more than a few logistics, including charging the trucks’ expensive freezers. One overnight charge keeps the ice cream frozen for 48 hours, according to Jordan.
Also, each truck has to be inspected and licensed in each town where it sells ice cream. Plus, rent has to be paid to store and park the truck off-hours.
Father and son like running their own business, the younger Alawawdeh said.
“We’re our own boss,” he said.