The golden years are a time for the elderly to take a break and enjoy life. This is the age where seniors get to do the things they were unable to do in their youth because of work or finances. Still, many people continue to work past the standard age of 65 not because they want to but because they have no other choice. Fidencio Sanchez has been selling popsicles in Chicago’s Little Village neighbourhood for the past 23 years. The 89-year-old pushes his freezer cart in the blistering hot and freezing temperatures to help support himself and his wife. On a good day, Sanchez was able to bring home $40 to $50. That all changed when a man who grew up in Chicago was driving by. Joel Cervantes Macías was so moved by Sanchez pushing his cart that he bought 20 paletas, made of fresh fruit juice and fruit chunks, and paid the man $50. Cervantes Macías shared a photo he took of the man on Facebook, his post was what got the ball rolling to change Sanchez’s life.His wife Eladia Sanchez also worked selling paletas but due to her health she stays home now.
The friends initially set their goal at $3,000. Within hours people were donating $5, $10, $20 from all over the world.
Sanchez had retired from selling the Mexican popsicles after his daughter passed away this year.
“When she died I felt so much pain. I thought, ‘What am I going to do now?'”says Sanchez.
The campaign raised $384,290, the largest for an Illinois recipient. Sanchez was orphaned as a baby in Morelos, Mexico where he worked since he was 13 years old. He moved to the United States in 1990 selling the Mexican popsicles.