A 10-year-old boy has been hailed for pushing his 76-year-old great-grandfather to a Covid-19 vaccination center in Oaxaca in a makeshift wheelchair.
Javier Alejandro García Aquino won praise on social media over the weekend after Oaxaca journalist Paulina Ríos published a photo of him, accompanied by his 7-year-old brother, wheeling his great-grandfather in a converted stroller to a vaccination center in Santa Cruz Xoxocotlán, a municipality just south of Oaxaca city.
Ríos estimated that the boy was 11 and wrote in her Twitter post that he was pushing his grandfather. However, she clarified on Monday that Javier is in fact 10 and the man, Victorio García, is not his grandfather but rather his great-grandfather.
In an article published by the news website Página 3, Ríos wrote that Javier pushed his great-grandfather along 10 streets for almost one kilometer to reach the vaccination center.
“The hardest part was the topes [speed bumps] because my [great] grandfather almost fell on one. I lifted up the stroller, I lifted it with all my strength, I didn’t care if I started to bleed because I love my grandfather very much,” he told the website during an interview at his family’s home.
Javier’s feat in getting his great-grandfather to the vaccination center was not only remarkable due to his young age: it was also extraordinary because he suffers from a condition called immune thrombocytopenic purpura, a blood disorder that makes him susceptible to bruise-like rashes and bleeding.
Upon arrival at the vaccination center, a municipal police officer asked Javier who was responsible for the septuagenarian, according to Ríos’ original Twitter post.
“’Me,’ he answered firmly and proudly. ‘Don’t you have a brother?’ ‘Yes, him,’ he said and pointed at a boy of about 7 who was at his side,” the journalist wrote.
Even though Victorio’s scheduled vaccination day was actually Friday rather than Saturday, he was promptly taken in for inoculation. Having witnessed his arrival in the wheelchair pushed by his great-grandson no one lining up for their turn complained, Página 3 said.
After the story of Victorio’s vaccination “journey” went viral on social media, he was promptly gifted a real wheelchair, and received offers for eight more, the news site reported. Javier’s family also received offers of groceries, children’s clothes, mattresses and even cash.
There is little doubt that they need the help. Javier turned 10 in early February but didn’t get a present, Página 3 said, adding that he hasn’t received gifts on previous birthdays either.
In fact, the 10-year-old’s family is in such a precarious financial position that Javier himself joined the workforce at the tender age of 7.
“When my mom doesn’t have money to give us a taco, I help her getting a chambita [little job]. I started when I was 7, I’ve been working for three years. … I’m a taxi and urban transport checker now, one of the shouters,” he said, referring to people who call out the bus routes to inform passengers.
“I go with my mom to work [in the center of Oaxaca],” Javier said, adding that he has also washed cars to help support his family.
The 10-year-old said he doesn’t know how to read or write and hasn’t gone to school because of “my disease that is almost similar to cancer but my hair doesn’t fall out.”
“I have a low platelet count and a lot of nose bleeds,” Javier added. Despite his health problems and lack of formal education, the youngster hasn’t had trouble learning the ropes of his transportation job, boasting that he knows all the bus routes by heart.
As for helping out his great-grandfather, Javier admitted that he owed him because he sometimes takes him out to eat or gives him 50 pesos after receiving his pension.
“It’s not so much for the money,” he clarified. “… He’s my [great] grandfather and I’m happy [to help] even if I don’t earn anything.”
Source: Página 3 (sp)