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Heartbreaking Photo Of Popsicle Seller Prompts $195,000 In Donations

“It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age."

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Joel Cervantes Macias / Via Facebook

The internet has donated more than $195,000 to an 89-year-old street vendor after a photo of him pushing a popsicle cart went viral.

The photo was taken by restauranteur Joel Cervantes Macias, who saw Fidencio Sanchez and his cart on Chicago sidewalk last week and snapped a photo for Facebook.

Following a positive social media response, Macias and his friend Joe Loera started a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $3,000 to help pay Sanchez's bills.

As Macias explains on the GoFundMe page, he originally bought 20 of Sanchez' popsicles, or paletas, for $50 to support the elderly vendor. But on the urging of Loera, he founded the crowdfunding page because he wanted to do more.

"It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age," Macias wrote.

He also explains that Sanchez and his wife recently lost their only daughter, who used to cook for them. When his wife became unable to work due to illness, Sanchez was forced out of retirement.

In just three days, more than 8,800 strangers have donated a total of more than $195,000. The campaign has been shared 68,000 times.

Macias originally only expected a handful of donations and was not prepared for the internet's overwhelming response.

"That one picture had so much to say, and people really responded to it," Macias told DNA Info.

"It communicated so many things — poverty, struggle, pride — it's like it spoke more words than any amount of writing could."

Joel Cervantes Macias / Via Facebook

On Monday, Macias shared a Facebook Live showing Sanchez with his cart.

Co-owner of Paletas Poncho, Gustavo Gutierrez, tells Macias in the video that Sanchez has been selling their paletas for more than 20 years.

"Every summer he always comes back," Gutierrez says. "he's also really, really hardworking."

Gutierrez adds that Sanchez normally pushes a cart for a few hours each day, taking in about $60.

Un Nuevo Amanecer con Gladys De La Mora TV / Via Facebook

Sanchez says in another Facebook video he's "very grateful and very happy" for the kindness of strangers from all over the world.

In an interview posted to Facebook, he appears with his wife in Eladia and says he plans to continue working in the short-term.

A Pennsylvania company has now donated a solar-powered cart to make Sanchez's job easier, according to WGN-TV.

Donations will be open for several more days, until Macias disperses the funds later in the week, according to an update on the GoFundMe page.

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