Good Samaritan raises more than $84,000 to help 94-year-old street vendor down on his luck

A 94-year-old tamale vendor in Santa Ana was brought to tears by a beautiful act of generosity by a total stranger. 

Jose Villa Ochoa, who goes by the nickname, "Don Joel" said he cried because he felt truly appreciated. At first, the gift was a simple torta (a Mexican sandwich) and a few bucks.

Don Joel told good Samaritan, identified as 28-year-old Kenia Barragan, that because of his age, no one would hire him. As a result, he has had to work selling tamales for a woman who gives him money at the end of each day.

“I felt for him, my parents are older and I would hate to see my dad out selling tamales for somebody and barely making ends meet,” Barragan said.

Barragan then went on social media to describe her encounter with the 94-year-old vendor in hopes of getting him a little help.


She ended up raising more than $80,000! Barragan also purchased Don Joel a new wheelchair and got him a new pair of shiny black shoes.


Don Joel described the gift as “life-changing,” and so does Barragan.

She said, “Definitely! I’ve always wanted a purpose in my life and I wanted to help people. This was the starting point for me.” 

"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," said Barragan.