EAST SIDE — It started as a Father’s Day act of kindness: A Southeast Side family bought out all of the paletas from a 70-year-old paletero’s cart so he could take the rest of the day off for himself.
What followed was a viral sensation, with video of the Father’s Day kindness being watched more than 5 million times and a GoFundMe set up to help the ice cream vendor retire racking up nearly $40,000 in one day.
It began with the Gonzalez-Dominguez family on Sunday. When Don Rosario rolled his paleta cart by their East Side alley gathering, they decided to buy his entire inventory.
Michaelangelo Mosqueda posted a video on TikTok of the family buying all the paletas to allow him to stay out of the heat and return home early. Rosario appears to be overwhelmed by the act.
Then they landed on the idea of a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign for a man who has pushed his cart around the neighborhood for 50 years.
“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 for him,” Mosqueda said.
In less than 24 hours, $39,305 dollars had been raised, surpassing the initial $10,000 goal, with donors coming together from more than 40 states to help.
“It can be very dangerous for paleteros or anyone out in the streets, we have heard of many that have been attacked by people just to get a couple of hundred dollars from them and seeing this 70-year-old man out on the streets we knew that we had to help him out,” said Karen Gonzalez, who helped organize the fundraiser. “This amount of money will allow him to be more comfortable and he won’t have to worry about the day-to-day expenses of life.”
The fundraiser is now closed, Mosqueda said, but he noted they hope to open it up again. He is in touch with GoFundMe officials and Rosario to give him the money.
“We’ve been left speechless, there were people from all over the states donating,” Mosqueda said. “It has been really eye-opening to see that when we all come together we do some great things for others.”
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