After decades of tireless work, an elderly Chicago street vendor will be getting some much-needed financial help all because of a picture posted by a driver passing by.
Joel Cervantes Macias said he was driving in the city’s Little Village neighborhood Thursday when he spotted 89-year-old Fidencio Sanchez hunched over and struggling to push his cart selling paletas, or popsicles, down the side of the road.
“It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age,” Macias wrote on GoFundMe.
Macias said that was when he pulled over to snap a photo before stopping to buy 20 paletas, giving Sanchez $50, and continuing on his way.
The street vendor typically only makes about $50 during an average day selling his paletas.
After Macias got home, the image of the hardworking man couldn’t seem to leave his mind.
He posted the photo on his Facebook page, with the caption, “I respect this man to the fullest, but had no idea the image would get such an overwhelming response. It was quickly shared more than 400 times.
That was when Macias’s friend, Joe Loera, came up with the idea to start a GoFundMe campaign in hopes those inspired by Sanchez’s story could band together to make even the smallest of a difference in his family’s life.
The originally fundraising goal was set for $3,000.
It turned out, Sanchez and his wife are still grieving the recent loss of their only daughter.
“His elderly wife was selling paletas also to help pay bills, but she fell ill and can’t work anymore,” Macias wrote on GoFundMe. “We’re trying to raise money to help him with whatever we can. Anything helps. Let’s all pitch in and help make life a little easier and brighten both of their day.”
In less than a day, the page received more than $100,000 in donations.