NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, September 13, 2016, 9:13 AM
You’re going to need a Kleenex for this one. It’s a reminder that a picture’s still worth a thousand words — not to mention a quarter of a million dollars. Also that hearts can still melt with kindness and generosity.
The photograph was taken last week in Chicago by Joel Cervantes Macias. He saw an elderly paleta, or popsicle, peddler pushing his cart of frozen goodies in the Little Village area of Chicago where he was born and raised. “It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age,” Macias noted. “I had to pull over and took this picture. I then bought 20 paletas and gave him a $ 50 and said may God bless him and drove away.”
But the image of the man, 89, bent over and struggling, stayed in the rear-view of his mind. Macias posted the picture on Facebook and, with the suggestion of a friend, Joe Loera, launched a Go Fund Me campaign on Sept. 9 to help the stranger named Fidencio Sanchez. “He and his wife recently lost their only daughter and are still heartbroken about the situation,” Macias wrote. “His elderly wife was selling paletas also to help pay bills, but she fell ill and can’t 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.”
The day is very bright. As of Tuesday morning, $ 253G has come in by way of more than 11,000 donations — $ 25 here, another $ 20 there, with a note “all the best from Germany” and $ 10 noting “God Bless you Joel Macias … ” It’s right out of “It’s a Wonderful Life” when George Bailey is rescued dollar by dollar by the townspeople who know and love him — only better. Fidencio is a complete stranger.
(Joel Cervantes Macias/via GoFundMe)
“Just so people know. We are not dispersing the funds till later in the week,” Macias noted in an update. “We will let everyone know. We are leaving it up for a few more days because people still seem to be donating. The Sanchez family really appreciates all the love and support that they are receiving from people from all around the world. Joe Loera and myself appreciate all the kind words that we are receiving.”
Comments on the site have asked Macias to “post an update with (Fidencio) getting the money.” Another pragmatic suggestion: “Can someone please help Fidencio and his wife get a good Elder Care Lawyer so that they can set up a trust… This will be important just in case they are on Medicaid or any other gov’t program that might be affected by the amount raised by this campaign. It’s definitely a blessing, but it could be a problem for them in regards to taxes, among other things.” Yes, even silver linings come with taxes.