Pensioner who went viral for trying to feed his orphaned grandkids has retired thanks to strangers’ donations
GoFundMe/Joel Cervantes Macias

A pensioner recently went viral after he was pictured pushing his popsicle cart through the streets to provide for his orphaned grandchildren.

Fidencio Sanchez, 89, has now finally been able to retire thanks to a GoFundMe campaign set up by a local man.

Sanchez returned to work as an ice cream vendor in Chicago’s Little Italy after his daughter suddenly died, leaving her children in his care.

His story soon went viral, with offers of help pouring in from around the world. Since then, the GoFundMe page set up for Sanchez has on gone on to become the most successful ever created in Illinois.

Joel Cervantes Macias, who originally created the GoFundMe page after seeing Sanchez pushing his cart, said:

It broke my heart seeing this man that should be enjoying retirement still working at this age. I had to pull over and took this picture. I then bought 20 paletas and gave him a $50 and said may God bless him and drove away. I posted this picture on FB and since then, I've gotten a huge response.

Sanchez and his wife Eladia were presented with a cheque for more than $384,000 at a special ceremony this week, meaning he can finally retire and still look after his family.

Speaking to the crowd in Spanish at the ceremony, he said:

My body won't let me anymore. I did it out of necessity, but now I don't have to struggle anymore. I'm so happy and grateful to be here and grateful for the people who have helped me and to the community whose big hearts have helped me and my wife in our old age.

Sanchez added:

Honestly, I haven't thought about how I'm going to spend the money. There's a lot to consider.

Over 17,000 people around the world donated money to the Sanchez family, and attorney Salvador J Lopez has been working pro bono to set up a trust for them.

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