'If I can do it, anyone can': Disabled Canterbury 20yo launches real-fruit ice-cream hut

Jake Manhire, 20, was born intellectually disabled and without a left hand but he doesn't let it...
Jake Manhire, 20, was born intellectually disabled and without a left hand but he doesn't let it hold him back. Photo: George Heard
An intellectually disabled 20-year-old born without a left hand is bringing hope to his family by starting a real-fruit ice-cream hut he's dubbed Happy Sundaes.

"If I can do it, anyone can. I want to inspire others and make them happy," Jake Manhire told the Herald.

Nearly three years ago, his dad Alan suffered a brain haemorrhage while trying to stop a service station robbery in Mayfield, Canterbury, where the family lives.

Alan Manhire spent three weeks in hospital recovering from the brain bleed "the size of an egg" and was off work for several months. Though he can now walk and talk, he's never been able to fully recover, with his memory taking the biggest toll.

At the time of the robbery, the family had just launched their dream cafe called ZOFS, short for Ze Old Food Shack, but after the father's brain injury they struggled to stay afloat and were forced to close.

Jake loves making real-fruit ice-creams with his mum Deborah at their Mayfield family cafe. Photo...
Jake loves making real-fruit ice-creams with his mum Deborah at their Mayfield family cafe. Photo: George Heard.
Now, with the added venture of Jake Manhire's ice-cream hut, the cafe - located on the Inland Scenic Route in Mayfield - has re-opened.

Deborah Manhire said after Covid they thought local businesses would struggle with no international tourists passing.

"It did get really quiet, when it was like that for the whole country, but now we've found this road is way busier, even without the international tourists.

"It feels like all of the North Island are visiting the South Island."

Deborah Manhire said the ice-cream hut was her son's pride and joy.

"He loves telling customers this is his ice-cream hut and he named it Happy Sundaes.

She also hopes his new hut will help him make new friends and wanted to encourage other families with disabled children to visit.

"I just want to make people happy with ice-cream," Jake Manhire said.

The "kind soul" had become extremely interested in the family business and was always coming up with new ideas for the menu like Mexican burgers.

"I think in another life he would have been a chef," his mother said.

"He loves the people and has an abundance of generosity."

Family business ZOFS has reopened in Mayfield, Canterbury, with Jack's new real-fruit ice-cream...
Family business ZOFS has reopened in Mayfield, Canterbury, with Jack's new real-fruit ice-cream hut dubbed Happy Sundaes. Photo: George Heard
When they decided to re-open, Jake Manhire was super excited and wanted to contribute so he came up with Happy Sundaes.

When Deborah Manhire was pregnant with her son she suffered a rare defect called amniotic band syndrome (ABS).

It's a condition where a rupture causes bands of tissue inside the sac of fluid to tangle around the baby's body causing injury.

In his case, it caused the loss of his left hand. He was also born intellectually disabled.

Despite his disabilities, he continues to strive above and spread joy to others.

 

 

 

 

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