Lifestyle & Human Interest

Good Samaritans Raise Over $12,000 for 80-Year-Old Robbed Twice in Two Weeks


There’s a saying “no good deed goes unpunished” that seems to resonate with many people who try to do the right thing but still experience major setbacks.

It’s discouraging to try your best and have the worst thrown at you, but thanks to observant people and the internet, sometimes good Samaritans can even out the score.

Modesto Fuentes is an 80-year-old widower who works hard and has two goals at this point in his life: install a new cross over his wife’s grave and go to Mexico to enjoy his well-earned retirement.

In order to achieve these goals, he has set out to raise $15,000 in Gage Park, Chicago, selling empanadas for just one dollar apiece.

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He strikes out on his 6-mile route three times a week, but he has recently encountered some problems. He has been robbed twice in just the past two weeks, with the robbers taking both money and food from him.

“They took $40 and four empanadas,” Fuentes told WBBM-TV with the help of a translator. “I just want to earn an honest living.”

Thankfully, a customer heard what happened to him and decided to make things right.

“Hi everyone!” Tania Rangel wrote on Facebook on March 12. “So many of you might have seen this gentleman around the the Dollar Tree on 46th and Kedzie or at the Walgreens near 55th and Kedzie (which at his old age walks to both locations during the day).”

“His name is Modesto Fuentes and he sells delicious empanadas and I have been buying from him the last few years. I ran into him today and he told me about how hard it has been lately. His wife died a couple years ago and his only job is to sell these empanadas.

“He has been robbed a couple of times and as recent as two days ago he was robbed at gun point and they took the only $38 dollars he had made the whole day! This hurt my soul to know people are stealing and terrorizing an older man that is out in the hot and cold making a few dollars a day!

“I ask everyone to PLEASE SHARE and if you happen to be around the area to just stop by where he sells and BUY FROM HIM.”

“To you it might just be a few dollars but for him it might be groceries for a few days!” she concluded. “Please support and help our people that even at old age are selling and trying to work rather than steal or beg!”

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After people suggested she start a GoFundMe for Fuentes, Rangel did. She originally only asked for $1,000, but people kept donating, so she kept upping the limit. As of Saturday morning, the GoFundMe has raised almost $13,000 for Fuentes, and there’s no reason to think the number will stop there.

“I just wanted to have people support him,” Rangel said. “I see my dad in him and I wanted to do whatever I could for him.”

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