In 2012, a man approached the bicycle ice cream cart with money and a strange request — give his paid for ice cream to someone else.

Later this became Stacey Achterhoff’s inspiration for starting a pay-it-forward ice cream. After Achterhoff’s great aunt died in 2009, she wanted to give ice cream as a means of bringing joy to people.

“I’m a person of faith, and what do you do when terrible things happen? You have to figure out where the light is,” she said.

In 2012, after Achterhoff traveled to Missouri for the sentencing of the young man on trial for murdering her great aunt, she read the family’s statement just feet away from the man.

“He was a lot of little boys that I’d seen,” she said. “He was sentenced to life in prison; my aunt was dead. What happened to a person to end up on that path? What do you do? You either choose to be ridiculously angry or you choose to say “I wonder what happened to that person.”

She thought about the people and community and changes she could bring.

“I had to do something that slows people down and brings them together,” she said.

After she saw a man cycling and delivering ice cream she knew she wanted to sell and give away ice cream. 

Later, she connected with Stephen Gallivar of Leprechan’s Dream Cycle who ended up giving her the 411 on popular ice cream treats as well as the truth about delivering ice cream.

“Without getting too mystical, it looks like it’s about selling ice cream,” Gallivan said in a phone interview to the Duluth News Tribune. “When you’re on the street connecting with your community in the way that we do, it’s a lot more than ice-cream. There is something beautiful and magical about it.”

For three summers now, Achtenhoff has established herself as an ice cream vendor in Duluth, Minnesota giving away hundreds of ice cream cones and popsicles bought by community members who have the desire to pay it forward.

She even has a coconut Bliss Bar that is soy, gluten, and dairy-free.

Achterhoff not only sells and gives away ice cream, but she is also a teacher for families in transition for more than 100 kids in kindergarten through fifth grade in Duluth Public schools. She teaches various subjects and even hears stories from children who don’t have happy upbringings.

“The work I do is a gift, a privilege,” she said.

One summer, students were even able to see her transition from teacher to the ice cream saleswoman, wearing the uniform and displaying the bike.

“They stopped calling me ‘Mrs. A’ and started calling me ‘Mrs. Delicious,’” she said.

Meanwhile, Achterhoff will not stop selling and giving away ice cream anytime soon.

The biggest purpose for her, in regards to selling ice cream, is to create interconnectedness and joy in the community.

She refers to her bicycle as her “tenny wennie vehicle for social change.”

“People want to know that goodness is prevailing over evil and they want to be part of that,” Achterhoff told Kare.

Chiara Elena will plan to graduate in May 2019 with a B.S. in English: Journalism and minors in writing and biblical studies. She has written for Corban University's "Hilltop News" and the Odyssey Online. When she is not writing articles, she adores writing short stories and poetry. She is also working on a novel right now. When not writing, she enjoys reading, hiking, swimming, walks on the beach, adventuring, making music, giving back to special needs children and those experiencing homelessness, and spending time with family and friends.