'Elote Man' vendor gets over $22K in donations after bike crash

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A beloved member of Houston's East End neighborhood was presented with a new cart and a check from his community on Saturday.

In November, 68-year-old Emilio Vargas was involved in a crash. He told ABC13 that while working, he thought it was safe to cross at Navigation and Milby. He ran a red light and was struck by another car. The impact sent him tumbling. He broke his shoulder. His bike, which is his livelihood, was totaled.

Friends, family, and strangers rallied together to present Vargas with a check for $22,442 along with a fully decked out bike.

While receiving the check, Vargas broke out in tears, grateful for what his neighbors had done.

Vargas is a well-known street vendor known in the East End as the "Elote Man" because he has been selling the Mexican street corn from his bike and cart for decades.

"He said, 'What am I going to do without my bike?'" his friend Yolanda Galvan said. "Here's this man, almost 70 years old, working everyday, hard, in the heat or not, just to make a living. Just to survive. Without any family or anyone else to back him up. Why wouldn't you help?"

"I just thank all these people," Vargas told ABC13, with tears welling in his eyes.

Vargas will not be able to work for at least two more months as he recovers.

"He's ready to get back on his bike," Galvan added.

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