Almost 90 years old, dragging his feet and somewhat hunched over, Fidencio Sánchez was walking through the streets of Chicago, pushing his ice cream cart as he had done for the past 23 years. This was seen in 2016 by Joel Cervantes Macías, another inhabitant of the city who was moved to see the old Mexican working at such an advanced age.
At that time Cervantes approached the man, bought him 20 pallets, gave him $ 50 dollars and said goodbye with a blessing. He also took a photo and it occurred to him to use it to start a fundraising campaign that would help that man to have a quieter old age, or at least give him relief. He did not imagine the scope that his campaign would have, which he had initially set at $ 3,000.
As soon as the collection began, Joel returned to look for the ice cream maker, who used to walk the streets of the La Villita neighborhood, to tell him about his initiative, which was going better than expected. Then he knew that the campaign was more important and necessary than he had imagined: that 89-year-old man and his wife Eladia, both natives of Morelos, Mexico, and residents of the United States for more than 30 years, had lost their only daughter, the main source of livelihood of the family, who left two children in charge of the marriage of octogenarians. Faced with family misfortune, Don Fidencio had no choice but to continue working to support the family.
When Joel told this story on social media, the campaign went off. More than 17,000 people from around 60 countries in the world donated more than $ 380,000 to the elderly, in what was then the largest GoFundMe campaign in the state of Illinois.
With the money raised, Don Fidencio and his wife were finally able to retire, bought a van and went to visit their relatives in Kansas.
Three years later, this November 6, it is Joel Cervantes Macías himself who has announced on Facebook the death of the mythical ice cream maker, at 92 years old.
"I fear that today I have very sad news. This morning at 5:53 am Don Fidencio passed away due to complications of sepsis. His family asked me to officially notify him of his death. The family wants to thank everyone for everything the world that made their last three years of life happy and comfortable. He was with his family and loved ones by his bed when he died. Information about his services (funerals) to follow. Rest in peace Don Fidencio … "he wrote Joel Cervantes in his Facebook account.
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The announcement of the death of Don Fidencio on Facebook has received hundreds of comments and has been shared on more than 1,500 occasions. Thanks to Joel himself in this same social network, the paletero had become a beloved character in the city and the Poncho palettes became very famous, even after the man could finally retire and his cart was carried by someone else.
At that time, surprised by the support, Fidencio Sánchez said to Univision Chicago cameras: "I am going to give a part to the church here, a part to the church of my land, I am going to give my grandchildren and certain people who have need".
“I am very happy for what they have done for me and my wife. We are very happy, we are battling with joy and joy, ”said Sanchez, who also received help from legal and financial advisors to handle the money received by thousands of people who were moved by his sacrifice.