But a Texas teen broke through the buzz.
An unsettling viral video showed an unnamed teen picking a gallon of ice cream out of the grocery store refrigerator, removing the lid, licking the ice cream and putting it back.
Unfortunately for her, it was a gallon of Blue Bell.
Blue Bell is a Texas ice cream, and as much as you don’t mess with Texas, you also don’t mess with Blue Bell.
After the video went viral, Blue Bell, Walmart, the San Antonio Police Department and the Lufkin Police Department worked to find the food-tampering teen.
They intended to charge her with a second degree felony that could result in two to 20 years of jail time, but because she is a minor, the case is being handled by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. Her age is why her name has been withheld.
Her actions have encouraged copycats, resulting in the arrest of a Louisiana man who was arrested after poking another carton of Blue Bell. Some innovative ice cream consumers also shared their food safety tips and extensive security measure have been implemented in some freezer sections.
If you aren't outraged enough by someone contaminating food, imagine someone licked the bread of your Wawa hoagie before making it and then served it to you.
I can remember growing up and going to the Central Mall in my hometown. My reward for behaving while my mom shopped? Buying two butter pecan ice cream cones, one for me and one for my grandma. It was probably Blue Bell, and even if it wasn’t, it feels like it was.
In 2015, Blue Bell did a major recall due to traces of Listeria in their production rooms. I don’t remember the outbreak as much as I remember how excited everyone at the University of Texas at Austin was when the brand returned to corner store shelves.
Do I occasionally leave the freezer section with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked? Yes, that flavor rocks. But all the fudge brownies and cookie dough in the world could not replace my love for Blue Bell. People from the southern region of the US, where Blue Bell is exclusively sold, have a special connection with this food and that’s why the Texas teen’s actions are even worse.
As a Texan, that’s my ice cream.
Now, as an adopted Philadelphian, I sympathize with people who have an inexplicable adoration for Wawa or Tastykakes or Rita’s Water Ice.
You can get a gas station sandwich, a sugar filled cake or an icy treat anywhere. But you can’t get your favorite gas station sandwich, sugar filled cake, icy treat just anywhere.
We cherish the things we grow up enjoying, and we cherish them even more when we find out those things are special to our region. You can’t get Blue Bell everywhere, so every spoonful of the Texas specialty tastes a little sweeter and just like home.