"So many have helped me. I feel very happy," Fidencio Sanchez said

By Marlene Lenthang
September 23, 2016 04:45 PM
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Credit: GoFundMe

After a photo of an 89-year-old popsicle salesman went viral two weeks ago, more than $384,000 has been raised to help the hard-working man finally retire.

“No more work,” Fidencio Sanchez said, according to Chicago’s ABC7. A large crowd gathered Wednesday to watch Sanchez accept the proceeds from a wildly successful GoFundMe campaign.

“I worked because I had to, but my body is no longer strong enough,” he told the crowd in Spanish.

Sanchez has been a fixture of Chicago’s Near West side for years, selling paletas – a kind of Mexican popsicle – back and forth, to the tune of $50-$60 dollars per day.

Sanchez retired two months ago, but returned during the last few weeks of summer after his daughter – he and his wife Eladia’s only child and their primary support system – died a month ago.

But thanks to the kindness of strangers, Sanchez no longer needs to push his paleta cart along the street. In fact, Sanchez’s GoFundMe account, which was started by local Joel Cervantes, is the most successful campaign to ever take place in Illinois, according to ABC7.

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“It gave a small glimpse as to how hundreds of thousands of people his age are still working in America, trying to make ends meet. And how hardworking the Latino community is as well,” Cervantes told the outlet.

Sanchez will no longer need to rely on selling his $1.50 paletas on the streets. According to ABC7, an attorney is working pro bono for Sanchez and his wife to protect and manage the money.

“So many have helped me. I feel very happy,” Sanchez told the outlet.