Community raises more than $140,000 for 89-year-old frozen pop cart pusher

CHICAGO -- Social media and the kindness of strangers have helped raise more than $140,000 for Fidencio Sanchez, an 89-year-old man who spends his days pushing a frozen pop cart through Chicago's Little Village neighborhood.

On Thursday, Joel Cervantes Macias was driving through the neighborhood when he spotted Sanchez struggling to push his cart down the street.

Macias pulled over and bought about $50 worth of frozen pops from the elderly man. He then snapped a picture of Sanchez and posted it to Facebook.

Once the picture hit social media, Macias was able to learn that Sanchez and his wife recently lost their only daughter, who also helped support them.

Joe Loera, who is a associate of  Macias, came up with an idea to launch a GoFundMe page to help support the couple on Friday, with the goal of raising $3,000.

On Monday, Loera joined WGN Morning News to discuss what inspired him to reach out and help Sanchez.

"I saw the picture he took, it was such a great picture, such a powerful picture, and it made me think 'hey this guy needs a day off'," Loera said.

It only took him a hour to find out who the elderly man was and why he was selling frozen pops.

After finding out they could get in contact with Sanchez, Loera and Macias decided to start a GoFundMe.

"Our original goal was, we wanted to make $200 to give him a day off," Loera said.

Thanks to more than 6,000 strangers, the GoFundMe has raised more than $140,000 for Sanchez, allowing him to retire his push cart for good.

Loera said "honestly its just a miracle between God and 6,000 humans, that felt touched the same way I was by this one picture."

"Six-thousand people came together to love this one man," Loera said.

Sanchez and his wife are very touched and grateful for the outpouring of support from strangers all over the world.

In an interview posted to Facebook, he said he loves working and plans to continue working. Sanchez also hopes to donate 50 percent to his local church.

His wife did express concern for their safety now that they've been gifted with such a large amount of money.