It’s a video gaining widespread attention on social media, showing a street vendor selling tamales in Chula Vista, then suddenly being gifted $1,000 in cash by a total stranger.
Jesus Morales, who goes by the handle Juixxe on TikTok, told NBC 7 San Diego this is just one of many vendors he’s helped in this way since the pandemic began, turning to his social media base to help raise enough funds to lend a helping hand to street vendors.
“Ever since I was little, I just wanted to help out,” Morales said.
Morales was hit hard when the pandemic hit, furloughed at his gym, where he works as a supervisor. During the downtime, he decided to join the social media platform TikTok and started posting videos.
He slowly started to build a following, centered on funny videos to make people laugh during the pandemic.
Soon, Morales said the videos started to lose meaning and, so, he wanted to create videos that actually made an impact.
Drawing inspiration from other TikTok users, Morales launched a street vendor campaign in August 2020, collecting donations from users through TikTok to then hand over to street vendors in San Diego and Los Angeles.
“He has no idea that we’re going to surprise him with $20,000,” Morales can be heard saying in one of his other videos posted to TikTok, referencing a street vendor about to receive one of his donations.
In his latest effort, Morales traveled to Chula Vista on Jan. 11, where he spotted a woman selling tamales alongside her son. He told NBC 7 he knew right then and there, he wanted to help her out.
“We simply just came across her that day,” Morales recalled.
In the video, Morales can be seen handing the woman cash, in disbelief over the donation.
“She was just shocked, she really couldn't believe it,” Morales said. “She gasped the moment I showed her the thousand dollars and she was like, 'Why?' and after that, she was just speechless because she could tell that I was serious at that point in time.”
NBC 7 spoke with the street vendor who received the donation.
She was still in tears over the heartfelt gesture and said she used the money the next day to buy her son new clothes and shoes.
Morales said he knows there are some people who might not support the videos he posts, thinking they’re meant to gain attention. He told us at the end of the day, he makes the videos to help someone.
“I do know my intentions and I know it's not for that,” Morales said. “Once again, I just do it to be transparent with my following as to where the donations are going to.”
In the videos, Morales can be seen filming actually handing over the donation but does not always show the face of the person receiving the donation.
People who wish to donate can do so by visiting Morales' TikTok page.