Facebook/Joyce Gilles Torrefranca
Restaurant viral videos and photos can be entertaining — like the bizarre Swedish pizza that stunned the world by looking nothing like a pizza at all — but they're rarely as heartwarming and inspirational as the story of a homeless boy studying outside a McDonald's that tugged the Internet's heartstrings this week. The boy was photographed using the light from a McDonald's restaurant to study by, and people were so impressed by his dedication he’s been rewarded with a scholarship and school supplies from people all over the world.
According to AFP, 9-year-old Daniel Cabrera lives in the Philippines with his mother and two siblings. The family has lived in a mini grocery store since their house burned down several years ago. Cabrera’s father died in 2013, and his mother, Christina Espinosa, works at the store, where she says she earns 80 pesos, or $1.77, per day. Without a home or electricity, Cabrera had no way to see his books when he studied at night, so he sat on the pavement outside a McDonald’s and used the light from the windows to read by.
In June, a passing college student named Joyce Gilles Torrefranca spotted him and took a picture that she later posted to Facebook. Now the photo has been making the rounds on the Internet, and everyone is impressed with Cabrera’s dedication.
"He is a very studious and determined boy... He would insist on going to school even without his lunch money because I have no money to give," said Cabrera’s mother, who explained that he wants to be a policeman when he grows up. "He always tells me: 'Mama, I don't want to stay poor. I want to reach my dreams.'"
Since the photo went viral, Cabrera has received donations from all over the world. People have given him money, school supplies, a uniform for school, a scholarship to pay for his education through college, and even a reading lamp.