CHICAGO, IL -- An 89-year-old man who sells popsicles out a push cart in Chicago can now retire after a photo of him pushing a heavy cart has gone viral.
A crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $280,000 for Fidencio Sanchez. He's been selling icy treats for 20 years, but only in the summer and on nice winter days. He pushes the 50-pound cart for as long as he can. Some days he makes only $8, other days $80.
Gustavo Pedraza, of the ice cream company Paleteria Poncho, said, "Everybody in Little Village has a lot of respect for him, because he's a hard worker. Now that everything became so big and everybody's actually giving the respect, it's just amazing."
Sanchez was finally slowing down, but then his daughter, who helped support him and his wife, died in June.
So when the picture was taken and the GoFundMe account started, it was with the hope of helping Sanchez take a day off here and there. But what happened warmed the hearts of everyone involved.
Jose Loera, who started the account, said, "On the optimistic side, I was thinking he might get $2,000. I mean, like, 'Well, maybe we get him a week off,' and we got him retired. It's pretty awesome."
Station WGN reports Sanchez didn't ask for the help and was determined to work until he died.
He says he can finally rest and he has a message for the people who contributed to the fund: "Muchos gracias."
New start for elderly man featured in heartbreaking viral photo