James Karagiannis – Selling ice cream and teaching maths

| Tagged in: i3D Blogs, Personal Discovery & Development, Real & Uncommon Heroes, Think Tank

A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom. – Bob Dylan

Everybody wants to be a hero. Everybody wants to do something great to elevate himself from the masses, because the masses are just stupid sheep. But, I think the real definition of hero lies in the difference between appearing great, where the intention is attention, and being great, where the intention is love and justice. Meet James Karagiannis, a real life hero, who made his ice cream cart, his greatest power.

36-year-old James Karagiannis, known on the streets as James the Ice Cream Cycle Dude,  spent the last nine years cycling through the more disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Buffalo, New York, selling ice creams for just $1 during the hot summer months. When he encounters children who don’t have the dollar to pay for a frozen treat, he makes them answer a history or math question, laying some heavy hints for those who might’ve struggled to find the correct answer.

One of the hardest parts about being an ice cream dude is seeing the disappointment on a kid’s face when all of their friends buy ice cream but they’re left out because they don’t have a dollar,” Karagiannis.


Karagiannis said he and his team of eight ice-cream sellers could never say “no” to kids who couldn’t afford ice cream, but the generosity took a toll on their finances. So, they started a pay-it-forward program that asks people in the community to pay the $1 cost for a child’s summer treat, and in return the kid hand-writes a thank you letter that Karagiannis mails to the benefactor.

The kids can’t fully appreciate when we just give it to them for free. They’re kids in our community; we have to help raise them right. – Karagiannis

James is showing the world that something as simple as selling ice cream can be called heroic, if it’s done with the right intention and a good heart. So, to do something with nothing but just a desire to change someone’s life for the better and to make them a little happy, makes one a hero.



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