An unpermitted hot dog vendor who was videotaped outside a UC Berkeley football game having his meager earnings confiscated by a campus cop was presented with a hefty $87,000 windfall over the weekend after viral video of the incident resulted in an outpouring of generosity to a crowdfunding campaign. As Eater reports, donors to vendor Juan Macias's campaign were giving him help with potential legal expenses and compensating him for lost earnings from that day, September 9. But now Macias, who goes by the name Beto, says he has enough to cover his family's expenses and launch a food truck, which will hopefully keep him in business for a while to come.
Macias was presented with a ceremonial check by supporters outside the UC Berkeley Center for Latino Policy Research.
The Daily Californian told Macias's story last week, and as he said through a translator, he didn't even know how much of his earnings were confiscated after the officer was seen rifling through his wallet. "I felt like a criminal," he said. "The little money that I made for my family, he took it away from me and made me feel like a criminal."
He was never given a record by the UCPD of how much they'd confiscated, and they said this was standard procedure to punish such vendors and protect public health by confiscating "suspected proceeds."
Of course most of the Bay Area has bought a bacon-wrapped hot dog off the street at one point or another, and many felt pity for this immigrant vendor simply trying to make a buck outside a sporting event.
A subsequent petition calling for the removal of the UCPD officer in the case, identified as Sean Aranas, and has garnered over 57,000 signatures.