Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling

My brother Tom suggested that I blog about my career as a Mr. Softee Ice Cream Truck Driver. He considers me a pioneer of women's rights.

And you know what? I suppose I am!

In fact, now that I think about it, I should be on a coin! I mean, Susan B. Anthony had a dollar. I should at least get a dime. Or a nickel.

You see, I was the first female Mr. Softee Ice Cream Truck driver in Niagara County.

Thank you.  

At the risk of dating myself, I got my Mr. Softee job before Al Gore invented the internet. To find a job back in the olden days (as my daughter Linda calls them), I looked at the help-wanted ads in the Niagara Falls Gazette.

And back then (clearly, pre-equal opportunity employment era), there were 3 sections to the want ads: "Help Wanted-Male", "Help Wanted-Female", and "Help Wanted- Male or Female".

I looked at the Help Wanted-Female jobs: hotel maid... baby sitter...cook.... Lame

There were a handful of Help Wanted Male or Female ads, equally lame

I stole a glance at the Help Wanted Male section. And there it was: the ad for the Mr. Softee Ice Cream Truck Driver.

I should back up for a minute and remind everyone about just how much I LOVE ICE CREAM. 

OMG. Talk about a dream job!  I was salivating.

The ad said they were looking for someone who was self-motivated and had a driver's license. 

It said nothing about needing a penis.

I was not only self-motivated with a driver's license, but my love of ice cream made me the perfect candidate for the job!

I drove down to Luzi's Dairy to put in my application. Mr. Luzi, the Archie Bunkerish business owner told me they weren't hiring counter girls.

"I'm applying for the Mr. Softee truck driver job."
"Mr. Softee truck drivers are men. Mr. Softee. Get it?"

I stood firm. "I have a driver's license. And I'm self-motivated!" I said, trying to win him over with my positive attitude and charming personality. (I left off the part about my love of ice cream in case he was concerned about inventory control.)

Mr. Luzi shook his head.  It had clearly never occurred to him that a female could do (or want to do) this job.

"I advertised for a guy."
"I know but I can do the job. Give me a chance!"

And he did.

It was the best summer job I ever had.  And I never grew sick of ice cream, despite the fact that I ate it continuously every day of the summer.

Plus, I became kind of a local celebrity.  You see, the Niagara Falls Gazette did a human interest story about my success in breaking through the glass ceiling in the Mr. Softee truck.  


I think Tom is right. I am a pioneer of Women's rights!  And I want a commemorative Lou Clyde dime. Or a nickel.

I'd even settle for a penny.

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