Savannah Guthrie is my favorite co-anchor from NBC’s The Today Show. Sitting in for Lester Holt for the evening bulletin, she with her infectious smile read out a news last Wednesday that truly warmed my heart.
The story revolves around Fidencio Sanchez, an 89-year-old resident of Chicago. At an age when he should have enjoyed a peaceful retirement, Sanchez tirelessly shed his sweat in Chicago’s Little Village Neighborhood pushing a freezer cart stuffed with icy treats. He rang a bell to catch the attention of passersby who could be interested in buying his popsicles. That has been his livelihood for the longest amount of time. He has an ailing wife who can no longer work. Tragedy had struck the couple when their daughter, who cooked meals for them, died in July. The responsibility of taking care of the grandchildren fell on their shoulders. Sanchez’s work ethic, combined with his lively disposition, kept him going in the midst of adversities as he braved even the bitterly cold winters of Chicago and greeted his customers with a smile.
Joel Cervantes Macias happened to be the messiah who was deeply moved by the popsicle man stuttering by with his paleta cart. After having generously bought 20 paletas and paying Sanchez $50, Macias on September 9 started a campaign through an online GoFundMe page. The goal was to raise $3,000 to lighten Sanchez’s hardship. The response was immediate, and within hours, donations poured in from all over the world. Within 3 days, more than $250,000 were raised, and at the end of the fundraiser, Sanchez on September 21 was gifted a check with an amount that exceeded $380,000. The donation came from 70 countries across the globe.
The pastor at Sanchez’s neighboring church, Gilberto Bahena, recognizes the flow of financial support as a miracle and says, “It’s for sure an answer to their prayers. This man has really been faithful to the Lord. This man has a good heart.” The movement to help Sanchez is not a a story ripped from the pages of a fictional tale. It’s a real life happening that pulls the heartstrings and portrays denizens of the universe in a positive light. It reaffirms our belief in the ideal that “Where there is hope, there is faith. Where there is faith, miracles happen”. There are times when on looking around we are shadowed by despair, and certainly there’s reason to lament when we think, “What man has made of man?”. But even in the midst of all the ill-will and hatred that breeds in today’s world, all is not lost. Altruism and benevolence do figure in the lexicon governing the conduct of society. Humanity and compassion still exist among mankind, and it’s inspiring to think that ultimately, it’s love that makes the world go round!