Wednesday 21 February 2018

'It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement' - more than $246k raised for 89-year-old man struggling to push his ice-cream cart

More than 5,000 people donated in a single day

Joel Cervantes Macias
Joel Cervantes Macias

Joel Cervantes Macias was driving in Chicago’s Little Italy village neighbourhood when he noticed 89-year-old Fidencio Sánchez struggling to push his cart of paletas. Mr Macias pulled over and took a photo of the man, bought 20 ice cream bars, and handed him $50.

“It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age,” he wrote on GoFundMe.

He also learned that Mr Sánchez’s only daughter died in July. Two years earlier, his wife injured her shoulder and was forced to stop selling paletas by his side.

Moved by the man’s story, Mr Macias set up a fundraiser on GoFundMe and raised more than $100,000 by the end of the day.

“We're trying to raise money to help him with whatever we can,” he wrote. “Anything helps. Let's all pitch in and help make life a little easier and brighten both of their day.”

Mr Sánchez is originally from Mexico and only returned to work after his daughter died. He recently told Univision Chicago that he planned to donate most of the proceeds to his churches in Chicago and Mexico.

He also told Telemundo Chicago that he was not sure if he would retire.

“But on the other hand, yes, because I need go out in the fresh air," he said. "I like it a lot and it helps me a lot."

Mr Macias said he would present the check to Mr Sánchez by the end of the week.

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