This heartwarming story began unfolding on Father’s Day when some Good Samaritans got creative so they could get an elderly man out of the heat.
The 70-year-old was pushing a cart around a Chicago neighborhood—hard work for anyone on a hot summer day—but now, thanks to some sweet customers and the kindness that went viral, he may finally have the opportunity to enjoy retirement.
Rosario Del Real works harder than many folks half his age. Until this month, he had been working as a carpenter from home. Since an injury forced him to take a break from his profession, he has pushed a refrigerator cart through the streets, selling paletas (Mexican-style ice pops) to neighbors.
Don Rosario, as he is affectionately known, was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and wears his traditional vaquero suit, cowboy hat, and pitted belt whenever he sells his frozen treats.
It may have been a holiday for dads across the U.S., but for Don Rosario, it was “another day at the office,” pushing his paleta cart around the neighborhood. Oscar Gonzalez and his fried Victor Dominguez were hosting a Father’s Day barbecue for their families and invited the paleta salesman to join them.
Everyone bonded very quickly, and before long, they decided to buy all of the paletas in Don Rosario’s cart so that he could go home and rest.
One of their friends recorded a video of the heartwarming sale and posted it on the social sharing app TikTok (see below the interview)—and when the video went viral, the family harnessed the publicity and set up a fundraiser to help the immigrant retire.
The initial goal was to raise $10,000 for their new friend, but generous strangers have contributed more than $62,000 to the GoFundMe campaign so far.
Even before learning that his new friends had collected a huge sum for his retirement, Don Rosario says he was moved to tears by their generosity that day, even though he is just grateful to have the opportunity to work.
“I don’t like to sit at home doing nothing and without a purpose,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “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.”
A very emotional Don Rosario thanks God for the family that bought all his paletas on Sunday. He said that he doesn’t like to stay home and that’s why he decided to go out & sell. He doesn’t know that the same family helped to collect nearly $40,000 for him. pic.twitter.com/eAXnqhYmJY
— Laura N. Rodríguez Presa (@LAURA_N_ROD) June 24, 2020
Don Rosario first came to the United States in 1969, before finally becoming a citizen in 1979. He says that when he first came to the country, his family was so poor that his only wish was for them to be able to eat one full meal every day.
After picking produce in California for a number of years, he worked on ranches and in factories in Texas and Oregon. Finally, he was able to settle in Chicago and buy a home, where he and his wife raised their three children on the Southeast side. He finally finished paying off the house in 2015.
Don Roasario says he plans to return to Zacatecas some day. When he gets there, the first item on his agenda is to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe to thank God for how so many strangers have been such a blessing to him in recent weeks. Even though he can certainly relax and enjoy his retirement now, he says he will keep working because it brings him so much satisfaction.
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