Ask anyone who grew up in the suburbs of even modest-sized cities about the ice cream man, and you'll probably get at least one or two fond memories. Playing outside with your friends in the summer, few things sounded as good as the music-box notes of the ice cream van rolling down your block.
Flash forward to December 17, 2021, and the tones evoke a somber, poignant response. Rolling slowly through the streets of southeast London on that day were 10 ice cream vans, each playing its song, in honour of Hassan Dervish. Apparently, Dervish was known in the area as the unofficial king of the ice cream, and he certainly had friends and colleagues in the industry who cared about him. They showed up for his funeral procession to give him a sendoff we suspect he would've loved.
We wouldn't blame anyone for finding a bit of weird humour in this, but we're being serious. According to The Washington Post, Dervish came to the UK from Cypress in his early 20s and took up employment in the ice cream industry, ultimately opening his own factory in the early 2000s. He enjoyed ice cream, but he also enjoyed seeing the happiness it brought others. Few things are as endearing as seeing kids excitedly chasing after an ice cream van as it passes by.
Clearly he shared that passion with others. He passed away on November 12 after a long battle with cancer, and the funeral was postponed a month due to COVID-19 safety restrictions. Even then, only a limited number of people could attend the service but his friends in the ice cream community joined up for one last drive around the block. Louisa Davies on Twitter happened to catch the funeral procession on video (embedded above) confessing that she was sobbing as they passed. That video went viral, and now the entire world knows about the king of the ice cream in London.
And you know what? There must be some onion-scented ice cream in here, because we're tearing up a bit, too.
Sources: The Washington Post, Louisa Davies / Twitter via Reilly Brennan