A fruit vendor whose stand was vandalized and destroyed got the help he needed to get back on his feet Wednesday.
After our story aired on NBC4 and our sister station, Telemundo 52, several viewers reached out, including two strangers who each donated $1,000 to Jonathan Alvarez Marquez.
“I sat there and I was horrified, and so moved,” said Dave Velasquez, a retiree who lives in Santa Monica. “I couldn’t help but think this man’s American dream was just violently shattered by this crazed man.”
Velasquez said after seeing the video of a man aggressively approaching Alvarez and then destroying his fruit stand with an ax, he had to do something.
He said he not only felt for Alvarez, 20, who just moved here from Mexico a year ago, he said he also thought of his own immigrant upbringing.
“I could just think about me as a the paperboy on my bike, and having some man assault me and trash my bike and throw my papers everywhere and what that would do to my young mind,” Velasquez said.
Velasquez met Alvarez for the first time Wednesday and presented him with an envelope filled with $1,000.
Alvarez, who spoke in Spanish, told Velasquez he hopes what happened to him doesn’t happen again and that he’s very thankful.
Another viewer, who did not wish to be identified, also presented Alvarez with $1,000.
“Hopefully this will get you new supplies to continue working,” she said shaking his hand.
LAPD said they are actively searching for the man seen on video who aggressively approached Alvarez and returned with an ax, which he used to vandalize and destroy his fruit stand.
Alvarez had set up on the corner of Canoga Avenue and Dumetz Road in Woodland Hills Sunday afternoon.
Police confirmed to NBC4, this is the same man who attacked another street vendor on that same corner earlier this year.
“Any attack against a street vendor is abhorrent and everyone who sees this video should be deeply disturbed. This sort of vigilante behavior is illegal and immoral and this individual will be held accountable,” said LA Councilmember Bob Blumenfield who represents Woodland Hills, in a statement Wednesday.
He went on to say, he will, “introduce legislation to see how we as a city can increase penalties for these sorts of attacks as well as explore more protections for victims of this type of hateful vigilantism.”
Alvarez said with the donations, he thinks he can begin selling fruit again in a few days. He said he plans on returning to the very same corner.
“I just want him to have this money so he can get started again,” said Velasquez. “Hopefully restore for him, the faith in what I call the American Dream.”
Source: NBC Los Angeles