A week ago, 89-year-old Fidencio Sanchez was selling Mexican popsicles in Chicago. Now he'll never have to push his paleta cart again, thanks to a kind stranger. Joel Cervantes Macias says he spotted Sanchez struggling to push his cart in the Little Village neighborhood on Thursday. It turns out Sanchez and his wife retired two months ago, but Sanchez was forced back to work when their daughter died last month. She was "like a mother to us," he tells DNAinfo. Cervantes snapped a photo of the man and gave him a $20 tip on his purchase, reports the Chicago Tribune. But back at home, he couldn't forget him. Instead, he created a GoFundMe page to raise $3,000 for Sanchez. He reached that goal in an hour.
The tally sits at more than $250,000 as of Tuesday. "It broke my heart seeing this man who should be enjoying retirement still working at this age," Cervantes wrote. He adds: "If it touches me, I should've known it touches everybody else who sees him." He credits the photo he took of Sanchez—who makes about $50 a day selling ice pops, per NBC Chicago—for inspiring some 11,000 people to donate. "He looks like he's suffering, like he'll never give up," Cervantes says. Now, "there will be no need for me to work," Sanchez says through his granddaughter. "I will be able to rest more at home." Sanchez will be presented with the donated funds this week. (Strangers also donated to a man who walks 21 miles to work.)