CENTENNIAL, Colo. — Asher Swann is simply known as The Popsicle Man in his neighborhood. He loads up his wagon with a cooler full of frozen treats and wheels it to a nearby park where he's become quite popular.
"I go to a lot of softball games, a lot of baseball games and a lot of soccer games," the 11-year-old said. "I’ve always dreamed of having a successful business."
The young entrepreneur was at Cherry Knolls Park last weekend. Sales started off strong during a soccer scrimmage when he spotted a friend in the park. Swann said he left the wagon under the tree so it would be in the shade, but soon his 6-year-old brother started running towards him crying because someone stole the cooler and cash box.
"I came up there, the cooler is gone, all of the money is gone, the wagon was still there. They just took everything in the cooler and the $40 of cash," Swann said.
He was devastated, and he couldn't believe someone would steal from him.
"I thought when it happened they could see it was owned by kids. I don’t know why they did it," Swann said.
His parents helped him file a police report, and they created a post on the social media site Nextdoor. His mom wanted to know if anyone saw the theft or had any information.
Someone later located the cooler and a broken cash box in the area.
As the post continued circulating on Nextdoor, comments started pouring in along with donations to help Swann replace the stolen items.
"I just loved all the nice comments. I felt so overwhelmed with joy and happiness knowing that the community has got my back," Swann said.
Swann is thankful for the help, but he said he doesn't feel right keeping all the money that was donated.
"All that stuff is too much for what I lost," Swann said. "When my stuff got stolen I thought, 'Man, the world has a big dark side on it,' but then when all the comments came pouring in I was like, 'Well, there’s a lot more good than there is bad.'"
He is using a portion of the donations to make his business whole again. Then, he plans to give the rest of the money to the Arapahoe County Fraternal Order of Police for their Benevolent Fund Motorcycle Ride.
"They shouldn’t steal from a young entrepreneur like myself," Swann said. "They knew it was wrong, and that’s what I didn’t like about it."
Swann is not easily deterred because he has big plans to save up money for his first car and college. He said he would really like to drive a black Lamborghini, and he wants to pursue a career in real estate development.
For now, The Popsicle Man is focusing on juggling 5th grade and being a budding entrepreneur. He also wants to thank everyone who wrote supportive comments and donated to his business. Swann will be at Cherry Knolls Park on Sept. 3 from 3:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. and, yes, he will be selling popsicles, too.
Swann's mom contacted the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office to let them know he plans to donate more than $1,000 to the Arapahoe County FOP Lodge 31 and thank the deputy who came out to help him the day his stuff was stolen. The sheriff's office said they will have a large presence of deputies there to receive the check and support the reopening of the popsicle stand.
"I would say thank you so much for your support," Swann said. "It means so much."