Evacuees staying in the many completely booked hotels around Auburn rushed to local ice cream shop O Town Ice Cream, located within the heart of Opelika, this weekend to try to create a little bit of happiness for their children in the middle of their temporary displacement.
On Sept. 7, O Town tweeted from their account, promising free ice cream to any children of hurricane evacuees that provide a valid driver’s license from Florida or Georgia.
For visitors without children, O Town even offered their “fur babies” a cup of ice cream with a dog treat on top.
There have been multiple praises and thanks from happy customers via social media.
"Thank you for keeping my little Miami evacuees happy today!" read one post O Town tweeted a screenshot of on Sept. 10.
As the owners were getting word of how devastating Hurricane Irma was going to be, they decided to be proactive in the fight against the effects the storm has on people evacuating by directly helping them.
“I realized how much stress these families must have been going through, and we wanted to bring some relief for them," said owner Angela George. “Ice cream usually makes kids happy, so their cups and cones were on us all weekend.”
The owners said they decided to pursue this act of kindness because of a personal connection the family had to victims of this natural disaster.
This is not the first time this ice cream shop has helped when others are in a desperate time of need. After Hurricane Harvey hit, causing at least 71 confirmed deaths and billions of dollars in damage, they donated 20 percent of all ice cream sales to the Red Cross.
George said that being a part of the Auburn-Opelika community means everything to her family and their ice cream shop.
“We want to be here,” she said. “You can’t just make a business like this in any community.”
The small-town ice cream shop first opened as a cart in 2015 and expanded to the store in January 2016. The owners say they first got the idea of opening their own store because going to ice cream shops was their favorite activity to do as a family.
On occasion, the O Town Ice Cream cart makes an appearance around different areas in the community such as Auburn University, the Opelika town square or at local events.