Family buys street vendor’s whole cart of pops, then sets up fundraiser to help him retire.
Don Rosario Del Real, who pushes a cart around with Mexican-style ice pops called paletas on the streets of Chicago, perfect for hot summer days, has been doing so after since a carpentry injury forced him out of the profession. At 70 years old, he still works just has hard at his newfound venture. That’s why a sudden surprise that came from a couple of Good Samaritans was a very welcomed relief to the businessman, and a gesture that quickly went viral.
On Father’s Day, Del Real was hard at work when Oscar Gonzalez and his friend Victor Dominguez were busy preparing for a holiday barbecue for their families and invited him to join. The family then decided to buy all of the paletas in Deal Real’s cart – 65 pops for $130. One of their friends recorded a video and posted it on TikTok. The footage soon went viral, and with that, the family decided to set up a fundraiser to help the immigrant retire.
The initial goal was to raise $10,000, but strangers chipped in generously, bringing the total to more than $62,000 in campaign funds so far. Del Real said he was “moved to tears” by the generosity of his new friends even before he realized they had set up the fundraiser, and after selling his inventory, he was just “grateful for the work.”
Viewing the TikTok video, one woman wrote, “The paleta man was KING to us kids in Chicago!!!! Miss those days. Bless you guys!” Another commented, “It’s heartbreaking that he has to work at this age. I’m so glad you did this for him.” And, another viewer said, “This made my heart fill up with so much happiness! I cried tears of joy to see his humble reaction. So proud of you for doing this.”
Gonzalez’s family member Michaelangelo Mosqueda said, “My grandfather just finished retiring this past year, and to see Don Rosario out there pushing the cart day in and day out, we just felt like we needed to do something to help him. The money raised will hopefully allow him to no longer have to work in the heat. I intend to withdraw the money and personally deliver it to him.”
“I don’t like to sit at home doing nothing and without a purpose,” Del Real said. “But I don’t have enough to ever be able to thank (the family) who have done this for me; it has made me so happy.”
The carpenter first came to the United States in 1969, securing his citizenship in 1979. He explained that when he first came to the country, his family was so poor his only wish was “for them to be able to eat one full meal every day.” After picking produce in California, he worked on ranches and in factories in Texas and Oregon. He finally settled in Chicago where he and his wife raised their three children.
Del Real said he plans to return to his birthplace of Zacatecas someday. When he gets there, he would like to “visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe to thank God for how so many strangers have been such a blessing.”