Sometimes, an individual portrait has the power to capture the hearts of people around the country, to become a representation of others and to tell the story of an entire community. This photograph of Fidencio Sanchez is one such moving image, depicting an 89-year-old immigrant who pushed his Popsicle cart around Chicago, never taking a day off.
Sanchez’s unwavering work ethic inspired passerby Joel Cervantes Macías, who bought $50 worth of popsicles and took this now iconic picture. He learned after posting the picture to social media that Sanchez had recently lost his only daughter, who had been helping to provide for him and his wife.
Macias and his associate Joe Loera started up a GoFundMe account for Sanchez. “Our original goal was, we wanted to make $200 to give him a day off” said Loera. The response from the American people was a huge surprise – in the best way possible. In just a few days, 6,000 people have donated over $140,000 – enough for Sanchez to finally retire and enjoy the rest he’s definitely earned.
Sanchez and his wife are extremely grateful, and say they will donate half of the money to their local church. His tireless dedication and inspiring work ethic paints a very different picture of immigrants than is commonly seen in the American media these days, as coverage of Donald Trump’s hateful rallies and his lies about Mexican immigrants go unchallenged by a ratings-obsessed media. The response from the online community to Mr. Sanchez is a welcome balm for the soul in these tense times, a reminder that there is still fundamental goodness and charity in the vast majority of people.
You may contribute to Mr. Sanchez’s GoFundMe here, if you wish.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.