An 89-year-old Chicago man can now retire from selling ice pops after two strangers raised more than $165,000 for him on GoFundMe.
Joel Cervantas Macias was driving in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood when he spotted Fidencio Sanchez pushing his ice pops cart down the street.
Struck by what he saw, Macias decided to pull over and take a picture of him before buying 20 ice pops from Fidencio and handing him $50 — and instructing him to keep the change.
"I saw this old man pushing a cart and struggling and it was very powerful to watch,” Macias said. “I felt sad and humbled by how much of a hard worker he was."
Macias posted the picture to his Facebook with the caption, "I respect this man to the fullest,” feeling others would have the same reaction he did — and he was right, as the photo quickly garnered internet attention.
“People started inboxing me and posting, saying they knew him or had seen him,” said Macias.
Bits of Fidencio’s story began pouring in and Macias found out that his daughter had recently died and his wife, who also sold ice pops, had recently fallen ill and couldn’t work. The family was struggling to make ends meet.
That was when one of the men who had messaged Macias thought of the idea to start a GoFundMe for Fidencio. Macias ran with the idea, setting a goal for $3,000, but in less than an hour, the goal was already exceeded.
Macias said he was finally able to speak with Fidencio Sunday.
“Him and his wife teared up and they were shocked and grateful," he said.
Macias says he has plans to possibly get a huge check and present it to the family, but will keep the campaign up for a few more days in case more people want to donate. So far, more than 7,000 people have given money.