A Scoop of Ice Cream Sprinkled With Kindness

Paying it forward one scoop at a time.

All children get to enjoy an ice cream cone at Everyday Sundae.

(Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com)

Every community has a local ice cream shop. It’s as American as apple pie. But not all ice cream stores have a mission.

When he opened his ice cream store, Everyday Sundae in Washington DC, Charles Foreman, 53, had a goal in mind, “My objective is to make a positive impact in my community by treating people like family and remembering them,” he told The Washington Post.

With his business slogan, “A place for commUNITY,” Foreman’s store has quickly gained a devoted following, reported The Washington Post. Regular patrons visit to indulge in their favorite flavors; artwork and cards from local kids adorn the walls; and one patron purchases their paper napkins there to support the store. Foreman has also organized events like storybook readings accompanied by sweet treats for children from a nearby daycare.

What truly sets this business apart is the free ice cream that Foreman generously doles out.

“You know when they come in, you can see it,” Foreman told TODAY as he talked about how he can tell when a visitor wants a treat they can’t afford. “It was natural in me to (notice) some of the kids have it and some of the kids don’t have it. So I’m gonna sponsor them” and give them ice cream for free.

Location is everything
Everyday Sundae is located in the Petworth neighborhood of DC, a troubled area that has seen its share of crime, according to TODAY. When Foreman was laid off from his position as a corporate chef due to the pandemic, he decided to pursue his dream. He believed that his community was missing a family-friendly ice cream shop.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Everyday Sundae (@everydaysundaedc)

“You know, they say that an ice cream shop in your neighborhood is an indication that the neighborhood is turning around, and that things are getting better,” Foreman said. “Anybody that knows this area knows Kennedy Street is not the most cordial area, it can get dicey out there, let’s put it that way. So that was it. I just wanted to be right dead center in my community and do something that was positive.”

One day, one of his regular customers, Nicole Harkin, noticed Foreman give a free cone to a child with no money. For Foreman, this was a constant gesture that had just gone unnoticed, but Harkin reacted with surprise.

“Nicole, she saw me giving one of the kids’ ice cream and the next week she came back and handed me this envelope with my name on it,” Foreman adds. “I looked at the envelope after she left and it was $100.”

Paying it forward
Foreman was so touched by Harkin’s gift that he posted it on Instagram. Then other patrons began bringing in cash to cover Foreman’s free ice creams for people they didn’t know.

“You know, giving stuff away when you’re a small business owner isn’t great business practice,” Harkin said with a laugh. “But I could see him trying to do a bigger thing to improve the neighborhood. It was just really nice to see him give those ice cream cones away and really make a tangible difference in his neighborhood.”

Foreman’s ice cream fund has received many donations since then, and once, visitors to the shop started buying cones for the people behind them in line, which started a pay it forward chain that lasted for hours.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Everyday Sundae (@everydaysundaedc)


“A police officer came in and bought ice cream and said he wanted to buy two scoops for the next two kids that came in,” Foreman said. “So the next two kids came in with their mom and I said, ‘There was an officer and he bought the next two scoops,’ and she was like, ‘Well we want to buy two scoops for the next kids after us.’”

Reaping what you sow
Everyday Sundae offers a rotating list of about 50 well-known yet refreshing flavors including 24 options at any given time, such as cappuccino crunch, black cherry, rich dark-chocolate hazelnut fudge, and brown butter bourbon truffle, reports the Washington Post. Portions are generous; there are three scoops of any flavors you choose in a single serving, and a double includes six. But generousity is not limited to portion size.

“When you see people doing their best, you want to do your best,” Foreman told the Washington Post. “Everything is contagious, whether you do something negative or positive.

“That’s just part of being in the community,” Foreman added. “We’re supposed to do all we can to help each other.”

Inspiring Ways to Spread Kindness
6 of the Most Inspiring Pay It Forward Chains
This Indiana Coffee Shop Rewards Customers' Acts of Kindness