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The Daily Kos reports on an impressive story of the generosity of strangers.

89 year old Fidencio Sanchez was making his rounds in Chicago’s Little Village neighborhood selling popsicles to make ends meet. His daughter had recently passed away, and he and his wife were suddenly left responsible for their two grandsons. With mouths to feed and bills to pay, they both returned to work.

Meanwhile, Joel Cervantes Macias was driving down 26th street, when he spotted Sanchez and took his photo. As he put it, “It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age.” Macias, after buying 20 popsicles, “gave him a $50 and said may God bless him and drove away.”

Later, he posted Sanchez’s photo on Facebook, and after a “huge response,” somebody suggested to Macias that he should start a GoFundMe campaign. Little did he know what was in store.

Macias began the campaign with a goal of $3,000 on Friday, September 9th. Since then, the page has gone viral, and as of the evening of the 20th, the campaign has raised $384,290 from 17,447 people. According to the updates posted by Macias, people from over 50 countries have contributed.

Because of the size of campaign, people apparently became suspicious. In the updates section of the campaign, Macias assured readers, “I am not a fraud,” posting the location of his restaurant and inviting people to friend him on Facebook.

Early on Friday, Macias posted a photo of his lawyer and financial advisor discussing options for Mr. Sanchez and his wife Eladia. According to the latest update, the check will be presented to Sanchez at Poncho’s Paleteria later this week.

The GoFundMe campaign for Fidencio the paleta man ended last night. ABC 7 Chicago reported early last week, when the campaign had reached $141,000, that Sanchez planned to continue working. It is not yet clear if his plans have since changed. 

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