Old age is supposed to be a time to relax and enjoy the company of friends and loved ones. So the sight of an 89-year-old man pushing a frozen treat cart broke Joel Cervantes Macias’s heart.
In Chicago’s Little Village area, Macias spotted Fidencio Sanchez struggling to move his paleta cart. Macias, a Mexican restaurant owner originally from Chicago but currently living in Wisconsin, paid Sanchez $50 for 20 paletas and took a photo of the working man with the caption: “I respect this man to the fullest!”
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After the photo of Sanchez captured the Internet’s heart, Macias created a GoFundMe page to help the elderly man. For years Sanchez spent hours every day pushing his paleta cart, only earning $50 to $60 per day. In July Sanchez retired, but later that month he had to return to work after his only daughter died. It became harder to pay the bills when Sanchez’s wife, Eladia, got sick.
Macias just wanted to raise $3,000 to help Sanchez and his wife, but two days later more than 5,600 people had donated over $115,000.
Sanchez was at church when he learned about the fundraiser. “He’s taking it with a lot of love,” Gustavo Gutierrez, the man who supplies Sanchez’s cart said.
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Macias hopes to give Sanchez the money in a Facebook live video soon. Sanchez plans to give most of the money to churches in Mexico and Chicago, as well as his grandchildren.
After such an act of kindness, it’s unlikely that Sanchez will have to go back to selling paletas.