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Paleteros Push Ice Cream Carts At Their Own (Great) Risk

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Photo: Flickr user Jim Winstead

"We are at the mercy of robbers any time they want," ice cream pushcart vendor--or paletero--Jose Ayala told the DMN. Walking the streets of Oak Cliff and East Dallas in searing heat, the guys who sell cold snacks out of their refrigerated carts say they've nearly lost their lives over amounts as low as $15. Another man, Omar Gallegos, gave the paper this frightening account:

Gallegos said a man driving a beige Isuzu stopped his car next to his cart. The man got out of the car and showed Gallegos his gun. I'm going to shoot you if you don't give me your money," the man said. Fearing for his life, Gallegos gave him the $45 in his pocket. Gallegos quit the job days later but said he did so because of the heat, not because of the robbery.
Some of the paleteros say they even carry bats for protection. So, tip them, won't you, next time you're craving strawberry paleta?

· Work Can Be Dangerous For Dallas Ice Cream Vendors [DMN]