Sid Bass saved Blue Bell ice cream. For those of you not from the South this is genuine southern heritage. Black or White everyone in Dixie ate Blue Bell ice cream until a listeria outbreak shut the company down. The famous ice cream brand had been family owned for 108 years and the Texas-based company never once had a layoff until this crisis. Things were looking grim until the billionaire sugar daddy stepped up to save the ice cream.
Now I’m not going to say that Sid Bass didn’t have a Howard Hughes moment. Old Howard loved Baskin-Robbins Banana Nut ice cream and what happened when the flavor was discontinued is a piece of Americana. It doesn’t matter if Sid invested because he couldn’t get Banana Nut. What sets him apart from his cronies in the billionaires club is he did something that ordinary humans can relate with. He saved the ice cream. The seemingly endless parade of out of touch presidential candidates could take lessons from Sid.
Sid and his three brothers made their money the old fashioned American way. They inherited a fortune from their oil wildcatting uncle and then turned it into an insanely large fortune. Sid is worth about 1.7 billion dollars and it’s likely he’s hiding quite a bit more from the government. He’s reclusive too. Personally obsessed with security he’s built a security network that links his various homes. (Fort Worth Mansion, Colorado Fishing Lodge, Aspen Ski Pad, New York pied-à-terres ) The private army of ex law enforcement agents even covers family members like the wife that said “Screw You Sid” in a bitter 1989 divorce. (Notoriously the security system was turned off when Ann Bass was attacked and robbed in her country home)
In a lot of ways Sid is what’s wrong with the concentration of wealth in a democratic society. Some of us think that the noblesse oblige of stepping up to save the ice cream shouldn’t be required in a healthy economy. At the same time you have to admire a wealth aristocrat that’s not shouting “Let them eat Cake!” while gleefully scooping up the last scraps of bread. The ghost of Citizen Robespierre chuckles every time some idiot says something like supporting food stamps is like feeding wild animals? Maybe a billionaire who saves ice cream American enough to make Mom’s apple pie proud to wear a scoop is the only thing saving the greedy bastards from a date with the National Razor.
Sid Bass once owned Disney. He wears shorts and said after his last divorce; “I’m never wearing a tux again.” Maybe the world needs more Texas Billionaires to step up and save the rest of the ice cream.
Only Walmart Ice Cream doesn’t seem to actually be ice cream