PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A Pinellas County man is finding new life after many years working as a corrections officer.
Carlos Velez is now serving his community in a different way.
Clara Rosa Ice Cream Truck is Velez's dream come true. It is a dream he didn't even realized he had until he found his job as a corrections officer at the Pinellas County jail was changing him in ways he didn't like.
"Kinda paranoid, anxious. I didn't like being around crowds, around people. My kids could feel the change in me. I didn't want them to have to live like this," Velez said.
So after 10 years of wearing a badge, the father of five and husband of 25 years, turned in his gun two years ago and found a tiny, rare 1964 Jeep Willy's fleet van that looks more like a caricature than a car.
"They made about 12,000 of them. And out of those 12,000, there's maybe 20 of them left in the world.
Now he's managing a different kind of crowd control — one scoop at a time.
"How's it changed your life? I smile a lot more. I'm actually able to interact with people more. My kids love it. My kids are happy. My relationship with my wife is very strong," he said. "All it took was a little ice cream and a lot of patience from her."
Steve Jobs once said, "If you want to make everyone happy, don't be a leader — sell ice cream."
"It's very good for me. It's theraputic. I can bring the kids with me every now and again and it's fun. It's a fun job," Velez said.
The ice cream truck won't be making rounds in neighborhoods, but will be at farmer's markets and festivals.