94-year-old street vendor receives “life-changing” act of generosity from Good Samaritan

by Peter Heck · Jul 20th, 2020 9:18 am
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Last Updated Jul 23rd, 2020 at 8:20 am

Jose Villa Ochoa, a 94-year-old street vendor in Santa Ana, California, was the recipient of a random act of kindness organized by 28-year-old Kenia Barragan.

When Barragan took the time to stop and listen to the story of the elderly man pushing a tamale cart, she said she found out he has been unable to find work because of his age. Hearing his condition and seeing his plight, Barragan said she thought of her own elderly parents, hating the thought that they might ever have to sell tamales on the street to scrape by. So she took to social media to ask for help.

"He can barely afford to buy his coffee and bread in the morning to eat and doesn't have money to pay for a phone, let alone his medication," Barragan wrote on Instagram. "I found all this out, just by taking a few minutes out of my day to acknowledge a stranger."

Within a week, Barragan had raised more than $84,000 for Ochoa, known affectionately on the street as "Don Joel." She also purchased him a new wheelchair and a new pair of shoes.

Barragan said she hoped the publicity coming from this incident would inspire others around the country to set aside divisions and care for their neighbor.

"I hope people take care of our community. We need to take care of each other. Even if you can't give money — donate a prayer, give something back, take the time to get to know someone," Barragan told Fox11 news.

An emotional Ochoa called the generosity and kindness "life-changing."


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