HOUSTON – Emilio Vargas' kind face is a welcoming sight to the people in Houston's East End neighborhood.
"He's like a staple in the neighborhood," said Yolanda Galvan, a longtime resident. "He's been around for so long, and he doesn't do any harm."
Vargas, 76, said he takes pride in his craft. His hardworking hands and his bicycle cart make up his living. Making and selling Mexican street corn earned him his name.
"Everybody loves him," Galvan said. "Everybody knows 'The Elote Man.'"
While his food earned him his neighborhood title, his heart earned him the community's kindness.
"He helps people and if you don't have the money, he's going to give you whatever. It doesn't matter," Galvan said. "He says, 'OK. You pay me later.' That's the kind of guy he is."
On Sunday, Vargas was hit by a car on Navigation Boulevard. The car owner did not have insurance. Vargas was badly hurt and his precious cart was destroyed. His story was shared on Facebook.
"The accident -- just the pictures alone were telling, and it's like, 'Man, we got to help this guy,'" said Hector Garcia, a local business owner.
Soon enough, the GoFundMe page Garcia and Galvan created got thousands of shares.
"Everybody is jumping at the chance," Garcia said. "Let's help this dude."
"He deserves it because he works hard," Galvan said. "It doesn't matter whether rain or shine. He's out there."
However, it seems the best donation is one that will help him move along.
"A family has been kind enough to donate a Elote-cart-styled bike," Galvan said. "Vargas hasn't seen it, but our plans are to add the canopy, a radio. Just really make it a nice setup for him."
Vargas doesn't know. The Galvans and Garcia are excited to show it to him. It's an act of kindness this giving man has more than earned.
"He deserves this," Galvan said. "He deserves a break in life."
Garcia said there will be a fundraiser for Vargas at RCC at 7 p.m. Friday. Organizers will be selling Vargas' elotes. The proceeds will help Vargas with his medical needs as he is recovering from the injuries he suffered during the car accident.