In television and film, there always seems to be that one kid with an ice-cream, lolly, or other similar cold treat that the protagonist either knows and something bad happens to them, or that is stood in the middle of all the danger (and is miraculously saved). Also counts when a kid drops an ice-cream and starts to cry (or by any other means encourages the good guys), or if they are used to mirror someone else. This kid becomes a device to provoke feelings from the protagonist and becomes the catalyst for a change in plot direction.
This will often happen in situations where there are plenty of kids around, all identical in every means except that that one kid that's focused on is eating an ice cream when no-one else is. This may be to emphasise their innocence and from that to remind our hero
that they have something to keep going for, and so encouraging their behaviour in order to move along.
Examples include a recurring character in Megas XLR
who is a spiky-haired kid that's always drinking a slushy just in the same place as Coop is when he's doing something crazy with Megas. The kid almost always then says "Cool!"; on an episode of Doogie Howser, M.D.
, a gangster tells Doogie about how his little brother was killed in a drive by shooting, and he wasn't doing anything but eating an ice cream cone, leading into the story and revelations for Doogie. In one episode of How I Met Your Mother
, Ted is on a date in Central Park with a girl who acts like a child so that guys want to look after her. He notices that her shoe is untied while she's eating an ice-cream so he stoops to fasten it for her. On looking back up he notices a man about his own age doing the same for his young daughter, who is dressed similarly to Ted's date and also eating an ice cream. Noticing this, he is prompted to break up with the girl. This also leads into a separate sub-plot involving his good friend, Barney.
This is subverted
in Lilo & Stitch
, a series with a child as the main protagonist, which has a recurring character of an adult tourist with an ice-cream cone. This is most likely reminding Lilo (and Stitch) that they need to save Hawai'i, if for nothing more than the tourists.
Parodied in an old MAD
comic where they did their spoof on The Lone Ranger
. Tonto disguised himself as a little kid with a lolly.