‘We just want to make it right’

The owner of Cowlick Ice Cream, Barbara Speary, left, and her daughter, Jennifer Hilpl, right, stand in front of the ice cream shop on Route 3, Watertown, on Tuesday afternoon. Sydney Schaefer/Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — A family was waiting in line for ice cream when another customer began yelling at them for not wearing masks, then spit at them as they got in their car to leave.

The owner of Cowlick Ice Cream on Route 3, Barbara Speary, and her daughter, Jennifer Hilpl, are trying to find the family who stopped at their shop Friday evening.

The family — a man, woman and child — were in line waiting to get ice cream. The shop has a rule that everyone must wear a mask when they get to the window or if they can’t socially distance themselves. The three weren’t wearing masks, according to witnesses, but they hadn’t approached the window to order yet and they were socially distancing, Ms. Hilpl said.

“They were just standing at the markings like they were supposed to,” she said.

But a woman — with her family, too — who had ordered and was waiting decided to verbally abuse the family, Ms. Hilpl said.

“She was so rude and so nasty,” Ms. Hilpl said. “She was doing this to a family with a young child, which to me is completely inappropriate.”

Instead of getting ice cream, the family decided to leave. Before the man got into his car with his family, the woman spit in their direction, Ms. Hilpl said, which she witnessed. In response, the man got into his vehicle and left with his family, she said.

“I was just so disgusted,” Ms. Hilpl said. “And we just want to make it right.”

A few days later, Ms. Hilpl posted on the Cowlick’s Facebook page about the incident, asking for help in finding the family that was allegedly harassed so she could give them a gift certificate. They had not tracked them down as of Tuesday afternoon.

“We feel so bad about the whole thing,” said Ms. Speary, who founded the shop 19 years ago. “It was totally unnecessary. We wear masks. We all want to be safe and we wear them out, but I don’t think people need to have that kind of reaction toward a family. It’s a sad situation.”

Since most people follow guidelines and the entire seating area of the shop is outside, this is the first incident they have had, Ms. Speary said.

“It’s getting a little ridiculous that people are being so mean to people,” she said. “Let’s all get along. I know it’s a delicate time, but we all have to get along. There’s no need for that at all.”

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

Recommended for you

(14) comments


It's time to end this Trump Bulls**t once & for all, when you leave your private property, ala you house, your apartment, or car, PUT A FREAKING MASK ON!

Do I agree with spitting on people, of course not, however MASKS SAVE LIVES & WILL HELP US ALL GET BACK TO THE LIFE WE WANT!



See the rules below. No profanity and turn off your caps lock. Both make you sound immature.


Well I'm gonna guess we haven't heard the whole story. It's no big deal to wear a mask when you are mingling with the public. no where in the article did it say this family passed masks. Bad things can happen when you don't where a mask when you should. Just ask poor ole Louie, lol too funny.

"Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, has tested positive for the coronavirus after refusing to wear a mask on the House floor and around the Capitol, Politico first reported Wednesday."


They were outside socially distancing as reported by the witnesses. You are not required to wear your mask until you are at the window. Do you wear your mask outside when socially distancing? Or are you one of those superhero’s that wears your mask in the car or while moving your lawn!


The woman was way out of line and should suffer consequences for the spitting. People like her should not reflect the values of those who are wise enough to wear masks. Wearing a mask is what our doctors, scientists and epidemiologists have told us is necessary. It is also, in my opinion, the right and moral choice to make in preventing the spread of the virus.


What did she do? Spit through her mask. I have meet many people recently, too many, who wear the mask NOT because of the virus but because they think that by wearing it they hold the moral high ground and that they have the right to approach people and question them if they are not wearing a mask, even if they are social distancing. It's a control thing. They could care less about the virus, they just want to pretend they are in the right and make demands of you. They had better be careful or they might challenge the wrong person(s).


sheriff! 100%, Fwfigher. Some people have devolved into bullies with a new cause. They should put this much effort into finding the spitter and throw the book at her.


That's weird. I wrote "I agree with you 100%.


I haven't met anyone like that, let alone "many".




Your post is nonsense. Anyone who wears a mask does have the moral high ground compared to someone who doesn't.


Spitting is not something that would come from the "moral high ground'm" - good grief!


Here's one right here elderberry!


False flag

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.