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This Gut-Wrenching Photo Moved People To Help An Elderly Ice Pop Salesman Retire

"Everyone was walking past him like he wasn’t there."

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This gut-wrenching photo of 89-year-old Fidencio Sanchez pushing a ice pop cart in Chicago has moved people to donate over $325,000 to help him retire.

Joel Cervantes Macias

The picture was taken by Joel Cervantes Macias, who told BuzzFeed News he was struck by the sight of the elderly man struggling to push his cart down the street.

"Everyone [was] walking past him like he wasn’t there," he said.

Macias pulled over and bought some paletas from him, then shared the photo on his Facebook page.

The response was immediate, and it soon led to a crowdfunding campaign to raise $3,000 to "give him a day off" from work. The GoFundMe page currently stands at about $325,000, and it's still climbing.

“It was shocking how amazing the response was," Macias said.

Sanchez and his wife had to return to work after a family tragedy left them to care for their two grandsons. “They have money problems," Macias said. "He just lost his daughter earlier in the year and he didn’t even have money to bury her.”

ABC7 / Via abc7chicago.com

Sanchez returned to his cart, which had been his job for over two decades, and his wife sold candy outside of church to pay the bills, Macias said.

They're still coming to grips with the sudden generosity from strangers, but a lawyer is working pro bono with the couple to make sure they get the full benefit of the money.

Macias, who got the ball rolling with his photo of Sanchez, said he was inspired by the man's work ethic and perseverance. “He shows what a true man is, and that’s what I admire about him."

Sanchez has said he won't keep all the money, either. He told Univision he will use a big chunk for his grandchildren, but he also plans to give part of it away, including to "certain people that I see have a need."

Ishmael Daro is a social news editor for BuzzFeed and is based in Toronto.

Contact Ishmael N. Daro at ishmael.daro@buzzfeed.com.

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