CHICAGO — A longtime street vendor says he is looking for another line of work after being assaulted for the third time in the city of Chicago.
“I felt a blow,” street cart vendor Gonzalo Garcia told reporters Wednesday.
The hardworking immigrant from Mexico described last Thursday’s unprovoked attack near a CTA bus stop on the 5200 block of W Grand.
“And what I did was cover my face so they wouldn’t disfigure me,” Garcia added.
Witnesses report seeing a group of young assailants beating and robbing a helpless Garcia, eventually making off with what he says was close to $270.
Following the attack, paramedics rushed Garcia to a nearby care center.
“They took x-rays. I have a fracture,” Garcia said pointing to beneath his eye.
News of the assault, along with video of the incident shared on social media, reached ITW Speer Academy student Brenda Correa.
“As soon as I saw it, I felt very upset by what happened,” she said.
Touched by Garcia’s plight, Correa, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, along with help from the Belmont Cragin United Neighborhood Association, sprang into action.
“I just identified with him,” Correa said. “I know what it feels like to have nobody looking out for you,” Correa said.
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Belmont Cragin United established a GoFundMe to help Garcia with medical bills and replace the money stolen from him just weeks before Christmas. More than $4,000 has been raised in about 18 hours, far exceeding the original goal of $600.
“He is part of the Belmont Cragin community,” the GoFundMe post read. “So please don’t let this man down.”