Not all heroes wear capes. Some wear collared shirts and hand out snow cones.
Forooz Amini, better known as Fred, sells ice cream at many of Potomac’s pools and schools, including Regency Estates and CHS. He has become a staple in the community through his reputation for high-quality customer service and his bond with many local residents.
“Once I get to know the kids who buy my ice cream, I enjoy watching them grow up and making them happy,” Amini said.
Amini has been selling ice cream in Montgomery County for 33 years. He immigrated from Iran to the US in 1979 during the Iranian Revolution. Once he discovered the ice cream business in college, he never looked back.
However, despite his current popularity, after buying his first truck in 1993, Amini initially struggled to adapt to his new surroundings.
“At first, I was embarrassed to do my job,” Amini said. “I soon realized that everyone in the community was nice, and I began to make money.”
Over the years, Amini has become somewhat of a celebrity in Potomac. Many local children know him by name and can easily recognize him just by his voice or by the sound of his van.
“I have known Fred since I was in middle school,” senior Mehar Cheema said. “He has become part of the area’s culture.”
Even though he says he does not make that much money as an ice cream man, Amini is happy leading a simple life.
“I live very cheap,” Amini said. “Since I am my own boss, I can make all of my own decisions regarding my workload and my expenses.”
When he is not driving his signature van around Potomac, doing what he does best, Amini enjoys traveling. He gives himself six months of vacation each year during the colder months and spends it traveling the world with his wife.
“I travel to sightsee,” Amini said. “I’ve been to China, India, Brazil and Costa Rica just to name a few.”
Now 60, Amini has done a lot with his life. He has raised three children, become acclimated to a new country and focused a lot of his time on charitable efforts.
Amini has a tip box in his truck, but it is not just any regular tip box. All of the money put in the box is matched by Amini, and all of it, including the tips, is donated to various charities around the world such as St. Jude’s and the Red Cross.
“There was once a woman who would give me money to give ice cream to poor children who could not afford it,” Amini said. “Ever since then, I have been very involved in many different charities.”
By enjoying the simple things in life, Amini is able to not only be happy, but make those around him feel the same way.
“Life is good,” Amini said.