Thousands of People Raise $300,000 for 89-Year-Old Ice Pop Vendor to Retire

Staff Writer
More than 15,000 people crowdsourced money for an elderly Chicago ice pop vendor to finally retire comfortably
He came out of retirement to make money by selling paletas (ice pops). Now he can retire comfortably.

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He came out of retirement to make money by selling paletas (ice pops). Now he can retire comfortably.

Cold ice pops, warm hearts: A small act of kindness has turned into an enormous fundraising effort to help an elderly man retire.

Fidencio Sanchez has always been known in his Chicago neighborhood as the ice cream man, but recently, at the age of 89, he was forced to come out of retirement after his daughter died unexpectedly and his wife fell ill. He sold paletas (Latino ice pops) in Little Village, earning between $50 and $80 daily by pushing his small cart around. Joel Cervantes Macias was driving through the neighborhood where he was raised when he spotted Sanchez, and he bought $50 worth of paletas on the spot, according to Today.

After posting the striking photograph of Sanchez — pictured with his head bent down, stooped over his cart — on social media, the post went viral. “It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age,” Macias wrote in the original GoFundMe post. In just a few days, Macias’ humble GoFundMe with a goal of $3,000 had catapulted to more than $300,000 in donations from 15,000 people in 52 countries. The outpouring of support has left Sanchez stunned, to say the least.

I am very thankful for the men that thought of doing this," Sanchez told the Chicago Tribune in Spanish, through a translator. "I am very thankful for the favor."

He plans on using the money to finally park his street cart and “rest more at home.”

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