DEKALB COUNTY, Ala. – When you hear the classic jingle you know delicious ice cream is nearby, but A Little Something Extra Ice Cream is about more than just fudge pops and sundaes. Each employee has a ‘special ability’ and the boss, Hunter Norwood, has Down syndrome.
“One of the most beautiful parts of this truck is that it highlights the ability in disability,” said Hunter’s mom Michelle Norwood.
Michelle came up with the idea to start a business serving frozen desserts, but make no mistake, 18-year-old Hunter is in charge.
“I’m the expert, the CEO, and the boss,” Hunter bragged.
The goal was to get him involved and Michelle said when Hunter was little, he walked later than other children and different things held him back.
He tried to be involved and he was, but Michelle would see some of his peers go play in sports tournaments or his siblings would get invited to Bible studies, and Hunter would sometimes be left out.
Now, Hunter isn’t just invited to events – he’s the star of the show.
There are around 20 employees, each with ‘special abilities’. They each go through training: learning the product, honing in on customer service skills, and picking up money skills. Once they go through the entire training, they graduate, get a certificate, and something special.
“A name badge that says ‘Ice Cream Expert’ on it, which I think probably is more exciting to them than if I gave them a check for a million dollars,” Michelle explained.
Employees get the pride of a job well done, and the Norwoods said parents are moved when they see their child gain independence.
“I’ve seen parents stand back and watch their kids working in the ice cream truck and them just standing there with tears in their eyes saying, “‘I thought I would never see this day,'” explained Hunter’s father Anthony Norwood.
When Michelle got Hunter’s diagnosis, she worried life as she knew it was over. She soon found having Hunter around has made her life a whole lot sweeter.
“We really want to show the world that life is awesome. I mean Hunter has just enhanced our life in so many ways. He’s brought a new dimension of thinking and of compassion,” said Michelle.
All ice cream is good, but this ice cream truck has a little something extra – the cherry on top!
A Little Something Extra Ice Cream is available for booking at birthday parties, festivals, and many other events. They are open to traveling across the country.
They also have a smaller ice cream cart, which they use for indoor events.
To book an event head to their Facebook page and send them a message.
They also have t-shirts available for sale, and they are working to franchise the business as well.