Joel Cervantes Macias was driving through the streets of Chicago when he saw 89-year-old Fidencio Sanchez pushing an ice cream cart.
Joel didn’t know Fidencio, but he could see that the old man was exhausted while working himself to the bone.
“It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age,” Joel said. “I had to pull over and took this picture. I then bought 20 paletas and gave him $50 and said may God bless him and drove away.”
But that wasn’t enough: Joel wanted to do more. He shared the story and created a GoFundMe account to raise money for the man. The goal was $3,000.
Within a few days, the community raised over $141,000. Stunning. Since then, kind strangers have raised $384,000 for Fidencio.
Macias learned that the ice cream man’s story is more heartbreaking than he could have imagined. Fidencio’s daughter was financially taking care of him and his wife after retirement, until she suddenly died. Because Fidencio and his wife adopted their daughter’s children, he had to return to work to make ends meet. Working over 12 hours a day for the past 23 years, the grandfather only ever made around $50 or $60 a day.
“Everyone just joined in, pitched in and really spread the word of love. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen, really,” said Joe Loea, who helped organize the GoFundMe project.
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