A 23-year-old TikToker has gone viral for surprising a 73-year-old car freshener vendor with a generous donation.
On Oct. 1, Jesús Morales shared a video in which he approaches the vendor, simply identified as Mario, outside of a CVS pharmacy in South Gate, Calif., and asks to buy all of his car fresheners.
After taking some time to figure out how many car fresheners he has, Mario asks for $80 in return and strikes up a short conversation with Morales and his girlfriend about her pregnancy. At one point, the vendor reveals that he normally works until 9 p.m.
Later on in the clip, Mario again tells Morales that he only wants $80 for the car fresheners, but the latter instead offers more, leaving the vendor speechless.
“Here’s $2,000,” Morales says in Spanish. “This isn’t my money. I saw a video of you out here at that CVS, and this is a bunch of donations from people on the internet.”
The heartwarming video has since received nearly 5 million views and approximately 10,000 comments.
“Dude this is awesome,” fellow social media influencer and YouTube personality David Dobrik wrote.
“It’s so nice to see these [hardworking] people get what they deserve,” another person added.
In an interview with In The Know, the 23-year-old, who works as a supervisor at Chuze Fitness, said he wanted to do something for Mario after seeing him in another TikTok user’s video.
“[Mario] looked like he was on the older side, and it broke my heart because I couldn’t imagine him selling many air fresheners in a day,” Morales said. “So I decided to start a Venmo challenge for him on my TikTok account, and we raised $2,000.”
The Venmo challenge involves multiple social media users coming together and pooling their money on Venmo for someone who usually works in the service industry. For Mario, Morales said he raised $2,000 over five days.
“He was teary-eyed as I explained to him where the money was coming from and why we were giving it to him,” Morales recalled. “He just repeatedly said thank you to us and gave me and my girlfriend blessings for our son.”
Mario also isn’t the first person Morales has raised money for — the TikToker has done the same for others in his community through his Everybody Eats project.
“When my family first [emigrated] from Mexico, they were sleeping on cardboard [on] a basement floor,” he said. “My family came from struggle. They were lucky enough to find many jobs throughout the years to get by. So, when we see Latin street vendors in California, we know there is a purpose as to why they are selling on the street.”
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If you enjoyed this story, you might want to read about this man who similarly surprised a waiter with a $1,000 tip.
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