Let me tell you a story before I ask you for a huge favor. Walmart - Orem 8:00 PM. Outside Temperature: 28F.
As I walk in I notice an old lady pushing a huge cart towards a bench, as I walk out 15 minutes later, she was still at the same place looking at her receipt, I walk towards her to ask if she needed assistance carrying her groceries, she politely declined with a smile on her face, saying she had no car to take the groceries to (all in Spanish). I, then, asked her; how are you going to get home? - I usually just wait outside for someone to give me a ride or I'll start walking home. This lady is nearly 70 years old. We promptly told her I could take her home. While in the car we asked her several questions that broke my heart and made see life differently, this event marked me.. perhaps for life.
I'll save you all of the things we talked about and focus on the important things that broke my heart, and will most likely break yours.
- She's 76 years old.
- She came to the US alone and has no family here.
- The reason why she came is because her husband of more than 30 years is sick and they couldn't afford to pay for his bills in Mexico.
- Her income solely relies on selling tamales, which pay for her living here and providing for her husband.
- When I met her she was wearing less warm clothes than I have during a chill summer night.
- She takes the bus every week to walmart to buy ingredients for her tamales and hopes to find a ride home.
- She preps/cooks her tamales for 2 days to sell only on Wednesday and Thursday because she has no other transportation to do it any other day.
- Gets up at 6 am to get ready to sell her tamales and does NOT go home until she has sold all of them.
That's what I learned from her that day, despite of this she was very humble and positive about life. I dropped her off, she thanked us a million times, I hugged her and kissed her and promised to help her in anything I could.
I got in my car and I couldn't help it but cry, here I was sometimes complaining of my stressful job with the long hours and here I met a hard-working, beautiful lady working her butt off to help the love of her life, working almost a 12 hrs+ shift to make less than you would at a fast food place.
Yesterday we wen't to visit her, now when she said she sold her tamales at 800 N 800 W. Provo, I thought it was one of those places where people get together to sell food or stuff, like a "pulga" or a food truck place. No. This was just a corner that she sat at for 12 hrs in snow or no snow, with a small sign that says tamales $1.35. When I got there it was 7pm and there she was in the middle of nowhere, with no visible light on the street, you would not notice her if you were not looking for her, I asked her with a knot on my throat, why aren't you selling them at the Smith's parking lot? to which she replied, they kick me out.
I could not believe this situation, I have helped people before, yes the ones holding signs that are young and ask for money, I've bought them food for the mere reason that I'm afraid they will use the money for something else, but I have never experienced something like this, it is just a heartbreaking story. I asked her in the car, why don't you ask your bishop for help, and she said she doesn't really need help that she believes there are other people who may benefit from it better than she would.
After I told her I wanted 10 tamales, her next reaction surprised me, she gave me 13, "te doy tu peloncito", I'll give you some extra. This lady is someone I look up to now, hard-working, generous and so devoted. She misses her husband greatly but necessity has her here. She still hasn't lost faith, she volunteers at the Provo temple and attends Sunday service.
I apologize for the long post, but I wanted you to have some insight of what she's going through. The favor that I ask each one of you is to please go see her and buy her delicious tamales, you won't regret it and if for some reason you can't please share this post for other people in your contacts to be aware of her, I guarantee you once you come see her she will receive you with a warm smile.
I'm creating a gofundme.com account for those of you who don't live in Utah that may want to help this beautiful lady out. Once again thanks for reading this and remember our good deeds will ripple around the world, hoy por ti maniana por mi. God bless.
I posted this message on Facebook on Thursday 17th, many people went to buy some tamales from her and she sold out within hours, the generosity of people have amazed me, our original intention were to help her out as much as we could, but all of us can do so much more for her. I'm creating this account on her behalf as she speaks no English. Once we reach our goal I will make a video when we give her the check, I want to thank all of you who have helped like/share this message to help our new friend Mrs Sanchez. I'm doing this for her as a surprise, just yesterday she was amazed at how fast her tamales sold (usually she stays past 7 and has a few left) but by 430 they were all gone, thanks to social networking the word spread and she went home early, all of this without her knowing. The picture of this post is not her but that's exactly how she looks, as I said I will add a video of her when I give her the money, if you'd like to see our story go to: https://www.facebook.com/treici.salazar
Sorry for the extra long message, and if you're ever in Provo come taste her delicious tamales and meet the sweetest person I've met so far.
Thanks. God Bless.