A striking photo of a frail, old man tirelessly pushing his cart on the streets of Chicago has melted the hearts of many. When the touching story behind this picture was told, thousands of people the world over came forward to make donations for him.
In 2016, Joel Cervantes Macias was driving down 26th street in the Little Village area of his hometown when he caught sight of an elderly man—donning a bright yellow cap, hunched over a paleta cart, while struggling to push it along the roadside
Macias’s heart broke to witness this sight. The old man, who should be enjoying his golden years, was, instead, walking down the streets to sell popsicles. That’s when Macias decided to pull over and snap a picture of this touching moment. Later on, he created a GoFundMe page for him.
“I then bought 20 paletas and gave him a $50 and said may God bless him and drove away,” Macias wrote on the GoFundMe page
Macias came to know that Sanchez, then 89, had been selling popsicles around the Chicago neighborhood for almost 23 years. Sanchez said that his only daughter had passed away a few weeks ago, leaving behind her two young sons.
“I wake up early and [work] all day until eight at night,” Sanchez told ABC7 Chicago.
“We thought, ‘What are we going to do? We have to pay the bills,’” he said.
“It’s really hard working out here in the streets, in the summer and cold winter. Even in bad weather we still have to go out and sell and the carts get stuck in the streets”
Things took a turn for the worse when Sanchez’s wife, Eladia, who also peddled popsicles, fell sick.
With nobody left to support them, Sanchez took the job as street peddler again in order to make ends meet
To make the life of Sanchez and his wife easier, Macias called upon social media users to donate. Initially, he had set the fundraising target of US$3,000 to help the elderly couple, but the response was overwhelming and Macias managed to raise over US$384,000 for Sanchez and his wife. The collected amount was handed over to Sanchez on Sept. 21, 2016, reported ABC7 News.
“So many have helped me. I feel very happy,” Sanchez told ABC7 News
“I just felt like he looked really tired and needed a day off. The world came together and gave him a bunch of days off,” said Macias.
It’s truly heartwarming to see how people banded together to help this elderly couple. There’s nothing more beautiful than spreading love and compassion to change someone’s life.
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