You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

US Dad Hires his Two Children with Down's Syndrome to Help Run his Ice Cream Truck Business

A dad bought his two adult children with Down's syndrome an ice cream truck so they don't miss out on having a job - and the pair have turned it into a huge success. Joel Wegener, 61 and his wife Freida, 60, have ten children, including Mary, 21, and Josh 18, who have additional needs. Retired science teacher Joel was keen to help the hardworking pair gain employment, so bought an old ice cream truck online for $6,600. After some mechanical and cosmetic repairs, the truck, named Special Neat Treats, was on the road, ably staffed by Mary and Josh, who serve ice cream to customers. They are now experiencing their highest demand for to date, with bookings flying in from all across Ohio. The pair from Loveland, Ohio, said together: "Our dad is the best dad ever and we love to sell ice cream with him. "We have a really fun summer and we hope we have good luck selling ice cream in the future." Joel and Freida have been married 36 years, having their first child in 1987, and their last in 2006. After Mary was born, when Freida fell pregnant again doctors advised her not to have any more children, due to the increased risk of them having Down's syndrome. However, the couple weren't put off, and has three more kids, including Josh. Freida, who also has a teaching degree, said : "We believe it was the will of God for us to have such a big family and each time I fell pregnant I knew it was for a reason. "We were not afraid of having special needs children or the challenges that came with it. "I may look older now, but I feel the same inside at 60 as I did when I was in my twenties!" They bought the truck in January and in mid-April, Mary and Josh made their first sale. Joel has been running the ice cream truck throughout the whole summer, and every day is assisted by Josh or Mary. "When we bought the ice cream truck in January I never expected for this to happen," Joel said. "The publicity we have received is amazing, and we hope that we can inspire other families with special needs kids to find new and inventive ways to support their children. "Mary always wanted to work with me, but up until now there hasn't been a suitable job opportunity for her. "The reason the ice cream truck is so perfect is that it has allowed them both to develop their interactive and social skills in a comfortable environment. "When they're at work they practice things like smiling and asking questions - things that before they really struggled with. "Josh is in his senior year at school so he isn't around as much, but Mary is nearly 22 and therefore no longer eligible for public education. "We were worried about what she'd be able to do once she reached this age, but the ice cream truck has really eased our concerns."
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon