SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Jesus Morales said he saw a video of someone giving away money to a street vendor a few years back and decided to try it for himself … and it changed his life.
“The first time I did it, it was only $100 but it was the most beautiful feeling. The vendor I gave the money to was just so grateful,” said Morales. “I knew in that moment that I wanted to do it over and over, it’s the most beautiful feeling in the world and I wish I could describe it, and I wish everyone could experience it one day.”
Morales took it a step further and began documenting his experiences as he gave away money, uploading the videos on TikTok and has since developed a wide following for his work.
The Chicago native and now San Diego County resident is followed by 1.3 million TikTok users.
“I think street vendors are often overlooked, I feel my videos are kind of shinning a light on some struggles they may face and hardships as well,” said Morales.
In his videos, Morales doesn’t just give the money away, he is seen and heard inquiring about the vendor and what he/she is selling.
He does this all over Southern California and he picks vendors at random. One day it might be a tamales’ salesperson, or a woman selling flowers, or perhaps a man roasting corn.
“I kind of interact, ask them what their story is how they are how they’ve been, then we just surprise them with $1,000, it’s always kind of a heartfelt, many of these vendors have some strong stories.”
So far, Morales has given out almost $150,000, most of it from contributions and donations made by his followers.
In one video, he is seen going back to a man in a wheelchair selling gum and cough drops. Morales reminds him of a recent interaction, which the man remembers, and promptly thanks him for the money he got.
Morales then proceeds to tell the man he is back because after posting the original video, followers donated another $4,000, and that he returned to give him the additional money
The unidentified man gets emotional, and in tears, thanks Morales for his kindness.
“We just collect the money and raise it and go around distributing it,” he said. “For the most part, many of these street vendors believe it’s a joke like a prank, it’s not every day someone walks up to you and gives you $1,000. They think there’s some sort of catch to it, ‘What do I have to do?’ I always let them know there’s no catch it’s just a gift that we raised from the community and we want to give it to you to show our appreciation.”
Morales, who goes by the TikTok handle @Juixxe, pronounced “juice,” says he’ll continue to give away money for as long as he can.
In recent weeks, his charity work has been recognized by the Mexican Consulate in San Diego and by the City of National City in San Diego County.