They didn’t have much, but they had plenty of love.

Unfortunately, living in poverty is a way of life for far too many people.

This is why when we hear uplifting stories like the one of Ernesto and his grandmother, it reminds us that sometimes if we step up and try to help, there are happy endings in store.

A Rough Upbringing

grandmother and grandson

According to a TikToker named Aaron Murphy, Ernesto was abandoned as a baby in San Salvador. But his grandmother took him in without a single complaint and raised him the best she could. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a lot of money, and they lived in a dangerous area, but they did their best.

As Ernesto grew, he began selling flowers in order to make money to support himself and his grandmother. Until one day, he came across Murphy, who documented the family and their circumstances.

“No human should live like this,” he wrote in a video showcasing where Ernesto and his grandmother lived. “He was living in a shack in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in El Salvador.”

A Helping Hand

That day, Murphy decided he was going to help. In addition to creating several videos on social media, he created a GoFundMe page to raise money and help the grandmother and her grandson move out of their shack and into a real house.

“Ernesto sells flowers along the streets of San Salvador with his grandma to buy his school supplies and to help support his family. We visited their home built out of scrap metal and garbage found lying around the streets,” he wrote on the page.

“Their home is built illegally along a slum in a dangerous neighborhood. We want to give them a real home where they own the land. We would also like to build them a small business so the grandma no longer needs her 9-year-old grandson to help support them.”

Soon, more than 1,600 people donated nearly $50,000 towards the family — a life-changing number.

A Huge Surprise

As people donated, Murphy started the process of changing Ernesto’s life. He took the child and his grandmother on a shopping spree, letting Ernesto pick out all the books and toys he wanted. He also picked out school supplies and got to eat a meal. Then, Murphy surprised him with a tablet to help with his studies.

“I could have never afforded to give him this,” the grandmother teared up in a video.

But that wasn’t all. Later, after volunteers had fixed up a house, furnished it, and bought lots of food for a community housewarming, Murphy drove the pair to their new place. They had no idea it was for them, of course.

“What a beautiful house,” the grandmother said before Murphy revealed that the home and the small convenience store were theirs. “Never could I imagine having a home like this,” she added through her tears while Ernesto smiled.

With the family in a safe and secure house with access to a business, Ernesto could finally focus on his studies. And speaking of, the rest of the money went into a college fund for the child so that when he turns 17, he can finally pursue his dream of becoming a doctor.

Making a Difference

There are many people around the world like Ernesto and his grandmother, who are just struggling for the daily basics they need to survive. Often these are good people who just had a hard hand in life, but they’re doing the best they can.

So helping them isn’t just life-changing; it’s often super rewarding. You may not have a personal connection with someone like Ernesto, but this story reminds us of the importance of approaching others without judgment and learning their stories to see what it is they’re really going through.

More often than not, there are ways to help, from donating old clothes or grabbing someone a hot meal to setting up a GoFundMe page of your own. After all, giving back helps us all attain a sense of purpose and fulfills our souls. And what’s not to love about that?