Almost $400k raised for Chicago's 89-year-old ice cream man

A viral image of 89-year-old Fidencio Sanchez pushing his ice cream cart caused thousands of people from around the world to donate towards his retirement.

Photo by: Joel Cervantes Macias via Facebook
Photo by: Joel Cervantes Macias via Facebook

The viral image of 89-year-old Fidencio Sanchez pushing an ice cream cart caused thousands of people from around the world to donate towards his retirement.

When Joel Cervantes Macias saw an elderly man struggling to push an ice cream cart through the streets of his Chicago neighbourhood, the 41-year-old restaurant owner could have just posted a picture to Instagram or enlivened his Snap Story with a witty caption, and got on with his life.

Instead, Macias took some time out of his day in early September and got to know Fidencio Sanchez, the 89-year-old man behind the cart.

"As I was driving down 26th st in the Little Village area in Chicago where I was born and raised. I saw this elderly man struggling to push his paleta cart [ice cream cart]. It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age. I had to pull over to take this picture. I then bought 20 paletas and gave him a $50 and said may God bless him and drove away. I posted this picture on Facebook and since then, I've gotten a huge response," wrote Macias on the GoFundMe page.

The image gained a lot of attention and people wanted to know more.

Again, Macias could have stopped at that point.

Instead, he and his friend Joe Loera launched a campaign on the crowd funding platform GoFundMe, in the hopes of raising a small sum of $3,000 for the ice-cream man's family.

"Mr. Fedencio Sanchez and his wife recently lost their only daughter and are still heartbroken about the situation. His elderly wife was also selling paletas to help pay bills, but she fell ill and cannot work anymore. We're trying to raise money to help him with whatever we can. Anything helps. Let's all pitch in and help make life a little easier and brighten both of their day," Macias wrote.

Thousands of dollars in donations came in from around the world. 

On September 21, Sanchez and his wife received a cheque from the campaign.

Their dream of retirement had finally come true.

 "I'll never forget this, thank you everyone for supporting and most of all I would like to thank God," Sanchez said at an event where he received his donations.

In 15 days, a total of $389,290 was raised for the 89-year-old ice cream man, and it showed how one image and one man's initiative could change the life of another in a positive way.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies