In a demonstration of enormous generosity, a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign has raised $211,131 (and counting) in three days to assist the retirement of an elderly Chicago street vendor. Joel Cervantes Macias first posted a picture of the man, 89-year-old Fidencio Sánchez, and his popsicle cart to Facebook to illustrate the arduous work required of many, especially immigrants, to get by. The simple photograph, depicting Sánchez slumped over his cart, elicited so many emotional responses from users that Macias decided to turn it into a fundraising project.
“It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age,” Cervantes wrote on his GoFundMe page, whose original monetary goal for “Fidencio the paleta man” was a modest $3,000. With the help of over 9,000 donors, the campaign has raised 70 times that number in a matter of days. Sánchez is set to receive the funds soon, but in the meantime he says he’ll keep on pushing his cart and peddling paletas. He also plans on perpetuating the cycle of charity and donating a portion of his incredible gift. “I’m going to give part of it to the church here, part of it to the church in my native land, some of it will go to my grandchildren, and certain people that I see have a need,” Sánchez told Chicago’s Univision affiliate.