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Poor 84-Year-Old Street Vendor Has Had One Dream for Decades - Wakes Up at 4:30 A.M Every Day to Fulfill It
Poor 84-Year-Old Street Vendor Graduates With Engineering Degree
Success Stories

Poor 84-Year-Old Street Vendor Has Had One Dream for Decades - Wakes Up at 4:30 A.M Every Day to Fulfill It

Nothing will stop me only death.

If you think you're too old to follow your dreams, you might want to think again...

For decades, Felipe Espinosa Tecuapetla dreamt of becoming an engineer. And finally, at the ripe young age of 84, the street vendor's dream has come true.


How a Poor Street Vendor Beat the Odds and Realized His Dream

84-year-old receiving his engineering degree

Felipe's life was marked by hardships from the beginning. Born into a poverty-stricken family in Puebla, Mexico, he began working as a young child.

Throughout the years, he took on a number of different jobs, including construction, fieldwork, and enlisting in the army. For the past few years, he's been a street vendor, selling fruit and vegetables at local markets.

A widower of 20 years with five children, 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, it was his eldest son, an engineer himself, who inspired Felipe to finally put himself — and his dreams — first.

But while his son may be his inspiration, it's Felipe who is his family's true source of inspiration.

His granddaughter, Erika Pozos Espinosa, told the media: “I am very fortunate to have such a living example. I don’t think anyone else has a grandfather who graduated from college at that age. He’s a source of inspiration.”

“It seems incredible to me that at his age, he doesn’t want to waste a single moment of his life,” she added.

Felipe was 79 years old when he made the leap and registered as the oldest-ever student at Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla.

His university journey, like his life, wasn't an easy one. He woke up every day at 4:30 AM to attend classes, taking two buses and traveling up to two hours back and forth. He was the first to arrive on campus and the last one to leave.

Additionally, he had to teach himself how to use a computer. All while continuing to sell chiles, tomatoes, onions, lemons, and more at the Tepeaca market.

Despite the obstacles, his studies were an incredible time for him and he excelled. 

What the Octogenarian Has to Say About Following His Dreams

After five years of study, Felipe completed his degree in process and industrial management engineering.

And in a sweet moment of victory captured on video, he was finally, after a lifetime of dreaming, able to ring the university's congratulatory bell.

The feat was shared by the BUAP’s president, Dr. Lilia Cedillo Ramírez, on social media. She captioned it: "Don Felipe received his university degree. At the age of 86 he has been an example for everyone and today he concludes another stage in his professional education. We are soooo proud of him. Much success!"

@liliacedilloramirez_

¡Don Felipe recibió su título universitario! Con 86 años, ha sido ejemplo para todos y hoy concluye una etapa más en su educación profesional. #BUAP Estamos muy orgullosos de él. ¡Mucho éxito! #LiliaCedillo #2023 #universidad #titulación #Puebla #ejemploaseguir

And now that he's conquered one dream, he has no plans of stopping.

His next step is to start a master's degree. And he's also studying English so that one day he can fulfill another dream — visiting NASA.

So how did he do it? The graduate told his university, “self-improvement” was his driving force. (And a whole lot of perseverance).

 “Overcoming anything is all in the mind, the mind is an incredible thing.”

Felipe Espinosa Tecuapetla

He also believes that it truly is never too late, saying, “It is never too late to continue in life. Life is only once, the rest ends when we leave. I beg you, I ask all the young people and all of us, to give it a try."

He's not wrong. Life is too short not to be living our dreams. Even if it takes a lifetime (or 80 years or so) to realize them.

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