11-Year-Old Continues Selling Water on the Street Even After Being Humiliated – Winds Up Buying His Family a House
This little boy inspired thousands with his story.
A lot of people faced hard times during the pandemic, and many people resorted to whatever means necessary to provide for themselves and their families. That meant kids and older folks also chipped in wherever possible, such as the 11-year-old boy featured in this story.
When the pandemic hit, 11-year-old Gabriel lived with his mother and three younger brothers (aged 10, 9, and two), in a Brazilian neighborhood called Mossoró. The family struggled to make ends meet and lived in a small room in his grandmother’s house.
Gabriel was concerned about his family living in a rough area. Plus, his 10-year-old brother had health problems and couldn’t be left alone, which made it hard for his mom. It was a struggle to pay even the most basic bills each month.
So, even though he was just a tween, the kid took to the streets selling water bottles. He documented the entire thing on social media, sharing his wins (like when his friends donated water bottles for him to sell) and losses.
The biggest loss came when someone reported the child to the Mossoró Tutorial Council, claiming he was engaging in informal business activity. The council removed Gabriel from the streets and told him he could no longer sell water.
A Change of Fortunes
Gabriel was understandably upset, and he shared a video on social media explaining what had happened. He then asked his followers for help.
“I’m not ashamed to go out to sell, I’ve been humiliated on the streets, but I’m proud of what I do; that way, I manage to support my house and my brothers. I would be ashamed if I were stealing,” he said, as per a crowdfunding page that someone eventually set up.
Before long, that crowdfunding page surpassed its goal of $70,000.00 BRL, collecting $83,121.54 BRL — or roughly $16,000 US. It was enough for Gabriel to find his family a house in a better neighborhood.
A news outlet came to deliver the good news. “I never thought that my dream could come true; I am very happy,” the kid said. “We have a big yard just like I dreamed of, and best of all, we no longer live with such insecurity,” he continued.
“I will not go back to informal commerce in the streets so as not to harm my mother, but if I am sure of one thing, it is that I will never be ashamed of having sold water in the street. It was an honest job, and as a result of that, I was able to give this house to my family.”
The Power of Compassion
It takes a remarkable kid to stand up and take responsibility for his family the way Gabriel did, but many people are of the mindset that kids should be kids. That’s one reason the story struck such a cord with people: they were in awe of this amazing little person, but also wanted him to have a proper and safe childhood.
His story isn’t unique, but the outcome certainly is. Thanks to the compassion and kindness of strangers, he and his family are now safe and secure and living their best lives. It’s the kind of story that makes us feel empowered to help in unexpected places too.
That’s the beauty of crowdfunding — a small donation can make a big difference in someone else’s life. And while times are tough for everyone right now, giving a few dollars here and there means that you, too, are helping create positive change.
It could mean skipping a dinner out, foregoing an excursion one day, or possibly shopping at a thrift store the next time you need some new threads to give to someone else. Or, it could be supporting small, local, and maybe struggling businesses the next time you make a purchase.
Whichever way you want to make a difference, leading with compassion and remembering that people are often just doing their best is a great guidepost. And when in doubt, remember how much of a difference that compassion made in this 11-year-old’s life.