Lyman Hamlin sits in his easy chair, hurting and bloodied. His eye blackened, it's been a tough few days.
"I'm probably not going to go back out on the road," the 77-year-old said.
His wife agreed. She doesn't want him back in the ice cream truck that has been a big boost after his retirement as a math teacher.
"With this one exception, I've had a great time selling ice cream. I get to see kids, I get to make them happy. I get to be out on the sunshine," said Hamlin.
But last Thursday in Brighton's Benedict Park he was attacked. He had just sold one ice cream, and pulled into an area near the fountain where there were two young males and two females waiting.
"One girl said, 'it's my birthday can I have a free ice cream?' And I said, 'no I can't do that,'" recalled Hamlin. Moments later without warning one of the young males came through the truck's door and started pounding him, swearing and hitting with rights and lefts.
"I couldn't hit him back because he was right in my face," said Hamlin.
The attacker was somewhere in his late teens or early 20s, he figures. He was slight; 5'7" to 5'8" and maybe 150 pounds. He was swearing at Hamlin as he hit him. The young women screamed for him to stop, but he ignored them. The other male said nothing.
"I'm on blood thinners, so my left eye was just pouring blood out of it," said Hamlin. "He hit me multiple times with his right hand and a few times with his left hand."
One of the young women had a "4-20" tattoo on her right forearm.
His left eye bled profusely, partly he figures because he's on blood thinners.
"I'm glad it's over. It could have been worse, if he had a knife or a gun," said Hamlin.
The assailant allegedly grabbed $21 from a change bowl and about $10 worth of ice cream and took off.
Hamlin did tell police of a license plate number he saw. Brighton police say detectives will be checking into information given to them about the crime when detectives get back to work Tuesday. In the neighborhood where the attack happened, people were stunned.
Beckie Luthey's son has gotten ice cream from the truck over the years. "But to know that they've basically beaten out a staple in this neighborhood who's probably never going to come back, just is really sad and depressing," she said.
Lyman says he's not mad. Some people have reached out to help with financial assistance and send best wishes. That's been a help. He just isn't going back to selling ice cream, which he loved doing.
"I understand everything that happened," he said, "except why."
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